Eurovision 2023 is just a matter of hours away, with Liverpool ready to play host to thousands of international guests. Despite Ukraine’s victory at last year’s competition, the UK will host the show on their behalf on Saturday (May 13).
This is because the country’s ongoing war with Russia makes it impossible to stage the contest there. The competition has also only welcomed 37 nations this year, as opposed to 40 in 2022.
Countries that will not appear in Liverpool include North Macedonia, Montenegro and Bulgaria - as well as Russia for the second year running.
Why are Russia, Montenegro, Bulgaria and North Macedonia not appearing at Eurovision 2023?
Russia was banned from competing in 2022’s competition following its invasion of Ukraine. This decision upheld by the European Broadcasting Union for 2023.
The move had a knock-on effect which saw Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Montenegro pull out of the contest. This is because each national broadcaster is required to pay a fee to take part, the amount of which depends on the size of the country.
Russia, as a large country, was a major financial contributor. Without their share, other countries were asked to cough up more to make up the funds.
An additional factor in some countries’ choice to bow out of 2023’s competition are rocketing energy prices that have resulted in a cost of living crisis in the UK. This has made staying in this year’s host country an unattractive prospect for some.
A statement from Macedonian Radio Television (MRT) read: “Such a decision is in the best interest of the citizens, taking into account the increased costs due to the energy crisis as well as the increased registration fee for participation. This decision will enable the saving of funds that should be set aside for the Macedonian delegation’s stay in Liverpool.”
Meanwhile, Montenegro’s public service broadcaster RTCG shared plans to use the money they would have spent on Eurovision for their national projects. RTCG said: “In addition to the significant costs of registration fees, 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.”
Neither Montenegro, Bulgaria nor North Macedonia qualified for the live finals in the 2022 contest.