Greece is set to participate in Eurovision 2014 against the odds. The country has been hit hard by the global financial crisis and has continued along a painful path of austerity. One of the victims of the budget cuts in 2013 was the state broadcaster ERT. Immediately after the suspension of transmissions, speculation was rife that Greece would be out of Eurovision in 2014. Could it be that despite their best efforts, the Greeks were finally out of the competition that they love so much?
Well no, actually.
Last week it was confirmed that Greece would participate in Eurovision 2014 after the replacement state broadcaster, DT/NERIT, became a full member of the EBU. In previous years the Greeks have funded their Eurovision participation through sponsorship and this trend is likely to continue in 2014. Although, with the Greek record companies feeling the pinch, it looks like they're going to have to be more creative in raising the funds.
With numbers dwindling in the contest it appears as if the EBU have had some hand in helping Greece take part in 2014. After careful negotiations, Poland and Portugal are set to return yet other Eurovision regulars such as Turkey, Serbia, Croatia and Cyprus to name just a few, will stay at home. Slovenia has been given until 17 January to decide whether or not it will participate in Copenhagen. To date, a total of 36 countries are confirmed for 2014, the lowest number since the semi finals were introduced in 2004.
Greece's continued participation in Eurovision, against all odds, demonstrates the significance that the event has. We laugh at the contest in the UK but it continues to attract high viewing figures for the BBC and in Greece, it's one of the most popular shows of the year. If Greece were to pull out then it would consolidate the image of Greece as bankrupt and on it's knees. They're fighting on and good for them. Participation in Eurovision is taken for granted by some countries yet here are the Greeks, fighting to be heard. National broadcasters that make little effort when it comes to Eurovision would do well to remember this.