Active members (as opposed to associate members) of the European Broadcasting Union are eligible to participate; active members are those who are located in states that fall within the European Broadcasting Area, or are member states of the Council of Europe. Active members include media organisations whose broadcasts are often made available to at least 98% of households in their own country which are equipped to receive such transmissions. Associate member broadcasters may be eligible to compete, dependent on approval by the contest’s Reference Group.
The European Broadcasting Area is defined by the International Telecommunication Union as encompassing the geographical area between the boundary of ITU Region 1 in the west, the meridian 40° East of Greenwich in the east, and parallel 30° North in the south. Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, and the territory of Ukraine, Iraq, Jordan and Syria lying outside these limits are included in the European Broadcasting Area.
Eligibility to participate in the contest is therefore not limited to countries in Europe, as several states geographically outside the boundaries of the continent or which span more than one continent are included in the Broadcasting Area. Countries from these groups have taken part in past editions, including countries in Western Asia such as Israel and Cyprus, countries which span Europe and Asia like Russia and Turkey, and North African countries such as Morocco. Australia became the first country to participate from outside the European Broadcasting Area in 2015, following an invitation by the contest’s Reference Group.
EBU members who wish to participate must fulfil conditions as laid down in the rules of the contest, a separate copy of which is drafted annually. A maximum of 44 countries can take part in any one contest. Broadcasters must have paid the EBU a participation fee in advance to the deadline specified in the rules for the year in which they wish to participate; this fee is different for each country based on its size and viewership.
Fifty-two countries have participated at least once. These are listed here alongside the year in which they made their debut:
Participation since 1956:
- Green: Entered at least once
- Yellow: Never entered, although eligible to do so
- Red: Entry intended, but later withdrew
- Green Light: Competed as a part of another country, but never as a sovereign country
Participants in the Eurovision Song Contest, coloured by decade of debut: 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, 2020s.
Countries in the Eurovision Song Contest:
OTHER COUNTRIES AND TERRITORIES: