Last week, the EBU revealed the exciting news that a record-breaking nineteen countries will be participating at the 2018 Junior Eurovision Song Contest in the Belarusian capital city of Minsk. The list of participating nations includes two debuting nations, one of which being the previously announced Wales. However, the second debuting nation was a surprise to us all… Kazakhstan! Since the announcement, the question on everyone’s lips has been whether this is going to lead to a debut for Kazakhstan in the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. To answer the question, the EBU has released a statement.
“No plans to extend this arrangement” beyond Australia
As Kazakhstan’s broadcaster, Khabar Agency, isn’t a full EBU member, the EBU would have to extend a special invite to the broadcaster for them to participate in a Eurovision event. Of course, Australia was the first beneficiary of this back in 2015. In a statement to fellow Eurovision website ESCBubble.com, the EBU has revealed why Kazakhstan has been allowed to participate and whether this will extend to the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Israel:
It is at the discretion of the JESC Reference Group, which represents all participating broadcasters, to invite any EBU Associate that has expressed an interest, to take part in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest for a single year. Khabar Agency, Kazakhstan’s participating broadcaster, is an EBU Associate and will participate in 2018. The participation rules have not changed.
Only full EBU Members are eligible to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest although the ESC Reference Group may accept, at its discretion, an Associate Member as a “guest” participant in exceptional circumstances as it has previously done with Australia. There are no plans to extend this arrangement to other Associate Members.
Thus, as things stand, there seems to be no plans for any EBU associate members other than Australia to be allowed to participate in forthcoming Eurovision Song Contests for the forseeable future. Nevertheless, if the Junior Eurovision invite was only decided in recent weeks, perhaps the Eurovision Reference Group are just yet to discuss the possibility?
Eurovision fans support Kazakhstan debut
Since the news broke last week, the Eurovision community has been hotly debating Kazakhstan’s debut in the Eurovision Family of Events. Overall, it seems to us that most fans are for the central Asian nation’s participation and would like it to extend into the adult contest next year. Furthermore, in the most recent edition of our XTRA Debate series, we discussed whether Kazakhstan should be able to enter the adult Eurovision Song Contest. Indeed, 75% of our team completely supported Kazakhstan joining the adult contest.
So far, Khabar Agency has announced that they will hold a national final to select Kazakhstan’s first ever Junior Eurovision entry. Winner of The Voice Kids Ukraine, Danelia Toleshova, is yet to commit to competing despite being heavily rumoured amongst fans and media.
Do you think the EBU will end up extending their invite to Khabar Agency to allow Kazakhstan to become the second associate member to compete in the adult contest? Would you like to see Kazakhstan become a fully-fledged member of the Eurovision Family of Events? Let us know!