Cash-strapped Serbia, winner of the 2007 Eurovision song contest, will abstain from next year’s glitzy competition because of the high costs involved, Serbian state television said Friday.
“This decision was made because of financial reasons, notably the high costs necessary to participate in the contest,” the RTS channel said in a statement.
Public broadcaster RTS, Serbia’s local organiser of the Eurovision competition, said it would however consider “possibilities for future participation in the contest, as soon as stable and sufficient financing allows it.”
Earlier this year, neighbouring Croatia, which in July became the 28th European Union member, said it would also withdraw from the contest, citing the “country’s poor recent performances,” and the “costs of participation.”
In 2012, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Portugal, Slovakia and Turkey all declined to take part in the 2013 contest.
Eurovision organisers, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), said at the time they were constantly “seeking ways to cut costs for both participating broadcasters as well as the host broadcaster.”
The annual music extravaganza is watched by an estimated television audience of over 100 million people, making it one of the world’s most watched events.
The 2013 event was won by Emmelie de Forest from Denmark with her rhythmic pop tune “Only Teardrops”.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]