The UK government has rejected a petition asking to make the day of the Eurovision Song Contest final a national holiday.
ESC usually takes place in May, with the final to be broadcast in at least 50 countries on a Saturday.
The petition claims ESC helps promote cohesion in Europe.
‘The Eurovision Song Contest is a celebration of European culture and history,’ reads the proposal.
‘The UK should aim to be as involved as possible in order to promote European integration, cooperation, and peace, at a time of great political strife and division in Europe.’
The contest, inaugurated in 1956, draws inspiration from the Italian Festival di Sanremo, a popular singing competition born in 1951. Ever since its inception, the ESC has gained momentum for its kitsch appeal and it became a favorite for the LGBTI community.
At present time, ESC sees at least 50 countries competing. These include all the member countries from the European Broadcasting Union. Since 2015, Australia has been competing as a guest entrant.
‘Last year, over 180 million people worldwide viewed the final of the Eurovision Song Contest,’ continues the proposal.
‘The host country, Portugal was able to showcase their culture, art, history and modern image. By making it a national holiday, we will increase participation and interest in the contest, thereby increasing education about modern Europe and celebration of European culture among the population, as well as potentially getting the opportunity to present the UK’s culture if we win.’
However, the British government rejected the petition.
‘It’s not clear what the petition is asking the UK Government or Parliament to do. Petitions need to call on the UK Government or Parliament to take a specific action,’ reads the petition section on the government’s official website.
They furthermore clarified: ‘The final of Eurovision is traditionally held on a Saturday. We are therefore not sure what action you would like the UK Government or Parliament to take. We only reject petitions that don’t meet the petition standards.’
ESC 2019 will take place in Tel Aviv, Israel, between 14-19 May 2019.
It will be the 64th edition of the contest, after Tel Aviv’s victory last year. Israeli singer Netta won in Lisbon in 2018 with the song Toy.