The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has withdrawn member services from Romanian public broadcaster Televiziunea Română (TVR) following the latter’s failure to pay debts totalling CHF16 million (€14.6 million).
As a result TVR will not 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 EBU said that it took the decision after the Romanian government failed to respond to a deadline to make arrangements to repay the debt.
In a final letter to the Finance Minister of Romania Anca Dragu sent on April 15 the EBU requested a down payment of CHF10 million to be received in the EBU´s bank account by close of business on April 20. The EBU also asked to receive an unconditional and irrevocable bank guarantee for the remaining CHF6 million, supported by a payment plan by the end of the year. The deadline was extended until Thursday 21 April but no payment was received.
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.”