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Romania disqualified from Eurovision over debts

The Band Voltaj from Romania performs during the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) on May 19 2015
The Band Voltaj from Romania performs during the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) on May 19 2015

Organisers have confirmed that Romania has been disqualified from the Eurovision Song Contest over unpaid debts of €14,547,975.

The European Broadcasting Union, which produces the annual competition, said the decision was taken after Romania's national broadcaster, Televiziunea Romana (TVR), failed to pay debts.

A statement from Eurovision reported:

“The EBU has withdrawn member services from Romanian public service broadcaster Televiziunea Română (TVR) following the non-payment of debts totalling CHF 16 million (€14,547,975).

“TVR will now no longer be able to participate in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest and will lose access to other EBU member services including the Eurovision News and Sports News Exchanges, the right to broadcast specific sporting events, legal, technical and research expertise and lobbying services.”

The decision was taken after the Romanian government failed to meet a deadline of April 20 to repay the debts.

The EBU's director-general, Ingrid Deltenre, said it was "regrettable" that they had been forced to take such action.

She said: "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 jeopardises the financial stability of the EBU itself."