While the Eurovision 2023 final is being held on Saturday May 13, in Liverpool (United Kingdom), Florent Parmentier, ociate researcher at the HEC Geopolitics Center and general secretary of Cevipof (Sciences Po Paris) discusses the intrinsic geopolitical nature of the competition since its creation in 1956, and the specificities of this 67e edition, which promises to be once again placed under the sign of war in ukraine.
This edition of Eurovision is organized in Liverpool because it cannot be held in kyiv. Is a new victory for Ukraine acquired?
It is obvious that Ukraine will be highlighted during this edition organized by its British ally. But this year the country is not given as a big favourite. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), as is customary, does not want the competition to be a political platform, but rather an entertainment event. It is therefore not certain that the staging of support for Ukraine, although present, is stronger than it was last year.
For Ukraine, the question of support for European opinions through the vote in its favor during this edition is nevertheless essential, once again for political reasons. kyiv is in a very different temporality of the war from what it was a year ago, since the conflict has taken hold. A crucial issue for the country is notably to succeed in maintaining the current level of aid that its Western allies are paying it. And in this undertaking, the support of citizens for their governments is strategic.
In 2022, the emotional shock was still significant, since the competition was held a few weeks after the start of the invasion. It’s not so much the message of the song Stefaniamixing hip-hop and traditional music, performed by the group Kalush Orchestra, which was consecrated by public vote, that the Ukrainian identity. Kiev’s victory was an expression of Europeans’ feeling of solidarity with the Ukrainian nation when the question of the sustainability of its territory was raised.
But it is possible that, this year, the public has turned away from the conflict. Eurovision 2023 will therefore be a test to see the place occupied by war today in European public opinion.
What about Tvorchi group chosen by Ukraine this year and the song he will sing?
Ukrainians who voted this year to select their candidate chose the song heart of steel (“heart of steel”) by the Ukrainian-Nigerian duo. The text, sung on an electro background, pays homage to “hero” of the headquarters of the Mariupol Azovstal plant in 2022And “symbolizes strength and courage” of the Ukrainian people, at a time when all eyes are on the fate of the city of Bakhmoutwhich could fall into Russian hands at any moment.
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