Eurovision, war and the geopolitics of pop

Europe’s great song competition may strive for continental harmony, but bitter conflicts and voting blocs often drag it off key, writes Saskia Postema.

The World Today
Published 31 March 2023 3 minute READ

Saskia Postema

Media Editor, The Hague Journal of Diplomacy

In May, the city that spawned the Beatles will add another notch to its cultural belt as Liverpool hosts the Eurovision Song Contest.

The pop competition has been celebrating extravagance, dramatic acts and lots of glitter since 1956. It is expressly designed to be non-political, with performers barred from promoting political interests, yet it exists for a specific political purpose – to promote European unity.

The organizer, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), has certainly succeeded in part with its mission. While Europe Day on May 9 comes and goes without much fanfare, Eurovision is an eagerly anticipated fixture on the cultural calendar.

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