Funds for UA:PBC blocked! What does this mean for Ukraine’s Eurovision participation?

The Ukrainian national selection ended with no scandals this year, and the winner of the both the jury votes and the public votes were the band Go_A, who are set to participate in Rotterdam with their song “Solovey”. They also signed the contract with the national broadcaster UA:PBC, and the preparations for Rotterdam have started. However, the fundings for UA:PBC have now been completely blocked, bringing lots of the broadcaster’s project into jeopardy, including Eurovision as well.

According to the Ukrainian media portal Suspilne, by a Court order, UA:PBC has to pay their debt worth over 10.5 Million EUR to Euronews, as well as all Court fees.

The formerly state-owned national broadcaster of Ukraine started a co-operation with Euronews back in 2010. Subsequently, the funds for payment of royalties under the agreement on the creation of the Ukrainian-language version of Euronews were suspended from the budget, which led to the appearance of a debt and a corresponding legal process. UA:PBC inherited this debt as the successor in title to all the rights and responsibilities of the former state-owned National Television Company of Ukraine, which ceased operations.

Due to this the funds of UA:PBC have been blocked, which means that the national broadcaster is currently unable to prepare for the broadcast of the 2020 Olympic Games, the participation of Ukraine in Eurovision 2020, as well as the launch of various other new projects. This blockage of funds will also lead to a complete halt to the broadcasting company in the near future, since it has blocked the opportunity to make the necessary expenditures for the work of national broadcasters (UA: Pershiy, UA: Kultura), as well as all regional channels of the broadcaster, digital platforms and three radio channels: UA: Radio Ukrayina, UA: Radio Prominy and UA: Radio Kultura.

All funds received from the budget (from the Ministry of Finance) will be immediately transferred from Public Broadcasting accounts to Euronews. The Culture Minister, Mr. Vladimir Borodyanskyi stated:

The situation with a possible shutdown due to the debts of UA:PBC is unacceptable. The public broadcaster did not provide funds for debt repayment in the budget.

The ICMS, in order to avoid situations of possible termination of broadcasting, together with the Ministry of Finance decided to approach the financing so that the Public could have an opportunity to settle its debts immediately.

The amount blocked in Switzerland will be returned to the budget and the ICMS will initiate changes to the budget to increase Public Broadcasting financing by the amount of debt paid at the expense of funds returned from Switzerland, which will ensure the sustainability of Public Broadcasting.

Whether additional funding (after the debt towards Euronews is settled) will be approved for UA:PBC by the Ministry in order to broadcast the Olympic Games, fund their Eurovision participation and more, is yet to be confirmed.

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