• Ovidiu Anton: Romania's 2016 Eurovision entry (Source Eurovision.tv) (Eurovision)Source: Eurovision
Romania has today been disqualified from competing in the 2016 Eurovision song contest due to an outstanding debt of over $21 million owed to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) by the Romanian government, and it's national broadcaster, Televiziunea Română's (TVR).
Genevieve Dwyer

22 Apr 2016 - 7:10 PM  UPDATED 22 Apr 2016 - 7:29 PM

Reports have been circling for weeks that TVR and it's entrant Ovidiu Anton would be disqualified due to the debt.

Today the worst was confirmed in an official statement by the EBU explaining that they had "withdrawn member services from Romanian public service broadcaster Televiziunea Română (TVR) following the non-payment of debts totalling CHF 16 million [AUD 21 million] ."

EBU Director General Ingrid Deltenre said: “It is regrettable that we are forced to take this action."

"We are disappointed that all our attempts to resolve this matter have received no response from the Romanian government. In recent weeks the EBU has taken note of the Ministry of Finance’s suggestion that TVR may be placed into insolvency proceedings which may in turn lead to a profound restructuring of the broadcaster.

"The EBU is a not-for-profit association which represents 73 Public Service Broadcasters in 56 countries. The continued indebtedness of TVR jeopardizes the financial stability of the EBU itself."

The EBU is comprised of national broadcasters from around Europe who all pay an annual fee to compete in the contest, with a maximum of 46 participating countries taking part each year. 

The five biggest financial contributors to the competition: the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain and Germany form the ‘Big Five’ nations that have a guaranteed place in the final, along with each year’s host nation (this year is Sweden), bypassing the semi-finals to form part of the 26 nations that make up the Grand Final.

Australia (and SBS) is, an Associate of the EBU which, like all associate nations, involves the contribution of an annual fee to the competition. 

Following the forced withdrawal of Romania, this will leave a total of 42 countries competing in this year's competition, including the Australian representative Dami Im.

The EBU states it holds the Romanian government legally obligated to underwrite the national broadcaster's debt which had been mounting as far back as 2007, and that despite numerous attempts to recover the debt, they failed to meet the final deadline on Thursday 21 April.

Sadly, we will not see Ovidiu Anton perform his song 'Moment of Silence' on the mainstage in Stockholm, but you can watch his entry video from the Romanian National Selection Contest Selecția Națională, below:

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