Referendum Against Eurovision: Have Bern's Host Aspirations Been Dashed?


(MENAFN- Swissinfo) Zurich, Basel, Geneva or Bern after all? The decision on which Swiss city will host the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) 2025 will be made by the end of August. The joint candidature of Bern and Biel is in jeopardy.

This content was published on July 8, 2024 - 11:00 2 minutes SRF
  • Deutsch de Referendum gegen ESC: Sind Berner ESC-Träume bereits geplatzt? Original Read more: Referendum gegen ESC: Sind Berner ESC-Träume bereits geplatzt
  • Français fr Référendum contre l'Eurovision: les rêves bernois s'envolent-ils déjà? Read more: Référendum contre l'Eurovision: les rêves bernois s'envolent-ils déjà

On Wednesday, the Swiss People's Party and the Federal Democratic Union Party announced a referendum against the cantonal financial contribution to the event. According to the People's Party, the cantonal government of Bern wants to set aside CHF30 million.

Due to the referendum deadlines, it would be unclear for months whether canton Bern would be able to provide the money to organise the ESC. In view of the tight schedule, this could jeopardise Bern's bid. Parties and organisations in the canton have three months to collect the 10,000 signatures required for a referendum.

If the cantonal government approves the contribution, the matter will go before the cantonal parliament at the beginning of September. Depending on the decision, the three-month referendum period will then begin. The vote would not be held until 2025.

Why are the parties launching a referendum against the Eurovision Song Contest? For the People's Party, the ESC is a“no-go” in view of the high taxes in the canton of Bern. Other cantons such as Zurich, Geneva or the city of Basel not only have lower taxes, but also more financial leeway.

“Let's leave these high expenses and the other problems that such a major event entails to them,” says People's Party parliamentarian Samuel Krähenbühl.

The Federal Democratic Union criticises the Eurovision Song Contest itself. It claims that the ESC has increasingly developed into an event where anti-Semitism is becoming socially acceptable. This leads to serious reputational damage and major security risks for the canton of Bern.

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