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Won't someone please think of the finance ministers?

Eurovision, for all its "ironic" enjoyment, is a financial burden that we should be glad Britain is never forced to undertake

by Andrew Ian Dodge on 19 May 2013 09:13

This weekend marked the finale of the annual extravaganza of Eurovision. As much as I am apathetic towards the result, it is just an excuse to get together with friends, have a few too many drinks and bathe in the bizarre spectacle of cliche-ridden europop.

It is the night when even the most tragically hip lets their hair down and gets involved... to be “ironic" of course.

But as you imbibed a drink from each country on Saturday night, I hope you spared a thought for each finallist's finance minister. This is not a cheap endeavor to host, after all. In fact, in 2011, an Irish blog set out to find out how much it would cost his country.

“Following on from that, focusing now on hosting the event, Norway’s broadcaster NRK in 2010 spent €25m to host the Eurovision. This is the most recent data available as we might have to wait a few months before we know what Germany spent this year. However, in 2009 Russia was reported to have spent a record £28m to host the show. This is equivalent to about €31m at average 2009 exchange rates.”

Now, there are plenty of rumors that the Swedish have used their well-known efficiency to keep the cost down to almost half of the recent events. The director of the event made it clear costs have gotten out of control and he was going to put the brakes on.

“Martin Österdahl, executive producer of this year’s event, told WSJ that for the contest to survive, “small democratic nations” must be capable of hosting the show and that “someone has to have the courage to break the trend,” of budget-busting spectacles, with both Germany in 2009 and Russia in 2011 breaking the €30 million ($38.9 million) mark.”

We can conjecture on the identity of the most terrified finance minister of them all last night. I suspect it was Greece.

They reached the final with their cheeky chappie song Alcohol Is Free. The song does have something in common with “My Lovely Horse” the infamous song of the Father Ted Eurovision episode. The only trouble is that it might fall under the “so bad it is good” type of Eurovision entry.

So as you wake up with a hangover this morning from your Eurovision party, remember that one country in Europe is waking up to one hell of a financial burden - and that Britain is continuously spared is something that perhaps we should celebrate rather than lament.

Read more on: eurovision song contest
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