Yesterday the Greek Minister of State, responsible for the public broadcaster, submitted a draft law regarding a quick reopening of ERT as a replacement for today’s NERIT, to the parliament. This raises the question what will happen with the Greek Eurovision participation?
It was back in June 2013 when all of a sudden the Greek Goverment which was then in power, decided to close ERT causing great reactions at home and abroad.
EBU allowed Greece to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2014 while the country was in transition in-between ERT and NERIT. Greece’s state broadcaster was not an active member of EBU and DT (public television) was granted a special favour from EBU in order for Greece to participate, despite missed deadlines for the official broadcast (NERIT) opening, something which happened on early May instead of early March.
Mr Nikos Pappas the new minister of State in Greece said from the beginning of his incumbency that one of the first priorities of the new goverment would be to relanch ERT instead of the current NERIT. Yesterday it was announced that he submitted it to the Parliament as a law proposal including terms and the conditions of the relaunch of ERT as the Greek State Broadcaster.
Highlights of the law proposal about ERT:
- The state fee will remain at 3,00 € per citizen, the same as for NERIT (it’s still one of the smallest in Europe)
- All former employes of ERT will return to their work
- All the regional state radio stations will reopen as they were before June 2013, the same will happen with the third state channel ET3 (which had its base in Thessaloniki)
- Τhe debate on the passage of the law will begin on Thursday in Parliament with the plan that ERT is to return on screens in April.
Minister of State Mr Nikos Pappas explained to the press that the "Old ERT is not coming back, but we start fresh with a new broadcaster with the same name". It is quite certain now that the transition from NERIT back to ERT will happen within the next month, not only on screens but also in legal terms. The new ERT will have to re-submit its application to the EBU for an active membership.
This year’s Greek participation in Eurovision:
Before the submission of the law proposal for the reopening of ERT, people of EBU visited the Minister of State and discussed with him all the open issues about the new public broadcaster:
"Reports indicate that EBU representatives asked to come in contact with the government, to break the ice and the resentment of government agents, because of their attitude and support to the sudden closure of ERT by the previous government of Samaras and Venizelos.
While in the begining EBU had sided with the former employes and against ERT’s "black", urging to reset the signal of ERT then mr Kapsis’s (Minister of State at that time) intervention changed EBU’s mind and sided with the government. The structure of the DT-NERIT had been dismissed by all the institutions of the European broadcasters, because of ERT’s "black" even though it was a founding member.
With government’s interventions, EBU has recently identified NERIT and allowed Greece to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest, after the president and NERIT’s CEO Mr. Peter Mais paid a substantial sum to EBU. "
It’s unlikely to see Greece disqualifying from Eurovision 2015 because of the relaunching of ERT. Firstly because the country firmly accepted participation already and will pay the necessary fee for the participation in March and secondly because the government assures everyone that the transition from NERIT to ERT will take place as smoothly as possible and in any case without any black screens this time. In addition to this, Greece has already chosen its entry for the upcoming contest, so the most possible according to goverment resources is that EBU will once again make an exception for the Greek entry and let the country participate despite the fact that new ERT will not be an active member of EBU in May.
ERT and Eurovision:
In the view of ERT’s reopening as the single national broadcaster, they asked people through the official page of Eurovision ERT after the end of the Greek national final last week for thoughts about how the national selection should be in the future:
"And after finishing the "party" of the deconstruct of NERIT and particularly in view of the official reopening of ERT, we’ll be happy to read your opinion on the following questions with the hope for something better in the new period :
1. What do you like in general about the Greek selection?
2. What do you not like in the whole process of the Greek selection?
3. What would you like to change in the selection of the Greek entry?
Nothing is sure for Greece at the moment for next year, but it seems likely that the collaboration with MAD TV as seen through the past three years will end.
Update: On the 11th of March it was announced that ERT will go live on the 20th of April 2015.
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