Poland could be kicked out of Eurovision in row over media law - Telegraph
European Broadcasting Union, which organises song contest, has warned new government over controversial move as EU debates whether it is straying from rule of law

Poland faces being ejected from the European Broadcasting Union - and with it, the Eurovision Song Contest - in an increasingly acrimonious row about the new government’s controls on the media.

The union, which organises the song contest, said it was monitoring changes to Poland’s media laws.

New powers that will let the government replace the heads of public broadcasters have alarmed European leaders and are seen as evidence of an increasingly authoritarian approach in the country.


“If they breach the statutes of the EBU, we will have a problem with them,” the president, Jean-Paul Philippot, told the Financial Times.

The EBU is made up of public broadcasters from across Europe, and only members can take part in the contest famed for its kitsch routines and off-key performances.

The EBU has warned Poland about its new approach. “To preserve the integrity and independence of public service media as a symbol of a free and democratic country, we ask you in the strongest possible terms not to sign this measure into law,” Ingrid Deltenre, the EBU’s director general, wrote to Andrzej Duda, the Polish president, in December.

Poland finished in 23rd place in last year's contest with In the Name of Love performed by Monika Kuszyńska.

Today the European Commission is to debate whether Poland is straying from the rule of law. Plans to reform the Supreme Court and allow the appointment of new judges have also caused alarm.

The commissioners in charge of fundamental rights, justice and media - Frans Timmermans, Vera Jourova and Gunther Oettinger - will report to the 28-member Commission on Poland's actions before it decides how to proceed.

A new legal instrument known as the "rule of law framework", created by the EU in 2014 after being widely accused of failing to defend European liberal values in Hungary, gives Brussels the "nuclear option" of suspending EU voting rights and access to EU funds in case of a "systemic threat" to the rule of law.

However, EU officials say the Commission may hold fire for now and seek further explanations and commitments from Poland in talks and in writing before any formal decision.

Diplomats say any action by Brussels could be politically counterproductive, fuelling nationalist and Eurosceptic forces in central Europe and a "siege mentality" in Poland.

One senior EU official caught in the crossfire between Warsaw and Brussels spoke out on Tuesday to call on Europe to hold Poland's leaders to account but spare ordinary Poles.

Donald Tusk, who was a conservative, pro-EU prime minister of Poland, is now president of the European Council and chairs summits of EU leaders.

He told Socialist members of the European Parliament on Tuesday: "I hope that your words and your actions will help to mitigate the behaviour of Kaczynski's party.

"But at the same time, in no way should they negatively affect my country and of course Polish citizens."

“Exaggerated opinions can be counter-effective,” he warned.