Three countries are out of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) 2023: North Macedonia and Montenegro will withdraw, while Bosnia & Herzegovina will not return for one more year.
In North Macedonia’s case, the broadcaster BBC will broadcast the two semifinals and the final, hoping to return in 2024. It justifies the decision with the context of the energy crisis and the higher registration fee: “Such a decision is in the best interest of the citizens, taking into account the increased costs due to the energy crisis, which occupy a large part of the budget of the public service, as well as the increased registration fee for the participation […]. This decision will enable the saving of funds that should be set aside for the Macedonian delegation’s stay in Liverpool”.
As for Montenegro, the public broadcaster RTCG also withdraws concerned with the costs involved, as it clarifies in a statement: “In addition to the significant costs of the registration fee, as well as the cost of staying in Great Britain, we also faced a lack of interest from sponsors, so we decided to direct existing resources to the financing of current and planned national projects and organizational and program reforms”.
Absent since 2016, Bosnia & Herzegovina remains out of the ESC without surprise. The broadcaster BHRT confirmed to the website esctoday.com that will not participate. Moreover, it cannot do so, since due to the debts to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) it cannot compete in Eurovision events and access the organisation’s services.