Of course, we’re talking about the UK’s imminent withdrawal from the European Union, currently scheduled for 29th March 2019 – less than two months ahead of the Eurovision final on 18th May. Will Brexit mean the country won’t be able to compete in this or future competitions?
Abso-bloody-yes! EU Membership has nothing to do with Eurovision.
To compete in the contest, a country just needs one of its broadcasters to be a member of the European Broadcasting Union, which the BBC is and will continue to be after Brexit.
“The BBC is a Member of the European Broadcasting Union [which organises the Eurovision Song Contest] and is, and will remain, eligible to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest. Just like many broadcasters from countries that are not a member of the European Union,” confirmed the EBU in a statement the day after the Brexit vote.
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Plus, because the BBC is one of the biggest financial contributors to the European Broadcasting Union, we automatically get to the final. Other members of the “big five” – France, Germany, Italy and Spain – also skip the semis each year.
Plenty of non-EU European countries including Norway, Russia and Macedonia are also members of the European Broadcasting Union. Even Vatican City – the tiny country and Catholic HQ within Rome – is a member of the EBU and could compete in the contest if it wished (despite this opportunity to live out a real-life Sister Act, they’ve never wanted to).
And remember, plenty of countries outside Europe compete in the competition, including Australia. And this year’s contest doesn’t even take place in Europe – as it’s hosted in Tel Aviv, Israel, it will technically be in Asia.