DR: We are not moving Eurovision anywhere
Last night, the Danish newspaper MetroXpress brought the story that DR, the 2014 host broadcaster, was threatening to move the Eurovision Song Contest away from Copenhagen if extra funds were not granted for the renovations of Refshaleøen, to become Eurovision Island.
Today, the story has made headlines in most of the daily papers in Denmark.
It is not true
Following the coverage, DR and the 2014 Executive Producer Pernille Gaardbo have rejected the accusations of blackmail against the Copenhagen and Capital Region councils. “It is not true. We are not threatening anyone. And we have no plans to move the show,” she said to dr.dk.
Gun to our heads
According to DR, the accusation originates from some comments made at the meeting of the Capital Region Council yesterday, where 4.3 million Danish kroner of extra funding from the Capital Region was approved.
In the papers for the funding vote, it stated: “The alternative is that the event cannot be carried out in Copenhagen.” The is most likely what got some politicians reacting with the “gun to our heads” comments, ultimately ending in the headlines in MetroXpress.
The head of the Capital Region Council Kim Høgh regrets his choice of words in the funding brief, explaining to Danish newspaper Berlingske that an ultimate alternative would have been another venue in Copenhagen.
As for the comments about Herning, Capital Region Council Conservative Party member Mette Abildgaard said to Danish newspaper BT that this conclusion came from her. “At the meeting I said that we feel like we have a gun to our heads, because if we don’t give them the money, it can’t be carried out in Copenhagen and that’s when I mentioned that we would have to send it to Herning. But I have never claimed that the threat came from DR, that’s the conclusion of MetroXpress.”
Has always been the premise
Host City Copenhagen, the project management company created by tourism agency Wonderful Copenhagen, the Copenhagen Capital Region, Copenhagen Municipality, and property owners REDA, explains the need for extra funds.
“Everyone has been aware of the risks of unforeseen expenses in connection with a project as large as this. That has always been the premise. There are some structural changes which cause the larger expenses,” said Martin Bender of Host City Copenhagen.
Emil Spangsberg, Head of Market Communications at Host City Copenhagen, further explained to Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet that the project management company only recently gained full access to the halls, meaning they did not have the complete overview when they initially did the cost calculations.
Political dissatisfaction in Copenhagen
While the Capital Region Council and Wonderful Copenhagen have accepted giving the extra funds, the Copenhagen City Council is yet to vote on their 4.3 million kroner share of the 13 million needed to complete the renovations. This is considered a formality, but several politicians have used the publicity to voice their dissatisfaction about the method.
“We outlined in the debate that it was bad financial management and that we wouldn’t say yes another time based on such a rushed basis,” said Susanne Langer of the Enhedslisten Party to MetroXpress.
Mette Abildsgaard is clearly frustrated with the situation, stating to Ekstra Bladet, “It is completely pinheaded that you put down an offer without having investigated everything thoroughly. It has been a really hard case. Most of all I wanted to vote ‘no.’ This is completely insane.”
Copenhagen City Council member Jens-Kristian Lütken of the Venstre Party believes the citizens of the capital are being taken hostage in the situation. “It’s deeply unfair. They have probably known from the start and that’s not OK,” he said to Ekstra Bladet. “There’s no doubt that the municipality will always grant the request when they threaten to cancel Eurovision. Nobody wants that. In the end, the taxpayers are the ones who will pay.”
But not everyone is as negative. The Copenhagen mayor of culture, Carl Christian Ebbesen of the Danish People’s Party, believes everything will be fine. “Of course we had hoped that extra funds wouldn’t become necessary, but it did, so we have to find the money. As long as it’s within this framework, it’s possible. It’s a huge success to get Eurovision to Copenhagen. It takes place over several days, concerns thousands of hotel stays and a lot of life in the city. We get to show off the city,” he said to Berlingske.
The Copenhagen City Council votes on the extra funding on February 25.