SWITZERLAND – The Eurovision Song Contest’s founding stemmed from a desire to promote cooperation between European countries in the years following the Second World War through cross-border television broadcasts, which gave rise to the founding of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) in 1950.
The word “Eurovision” was first used by British journalist George Campey in the London Evening Standard in 1951 when he referred to a BBC programme being relayed by Dutch television.
Following several events broadcast internationally via the Eurovision transmission network in the early 1950s, including the Coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953, an EBU committee, headed by Marcel Bezençon, was formed in January 1955 to investigate new initiatives for cooperation between broadcasters, which approved for further study a European song competition from an idea initially proposed by Sergio Pugliese.
The EBU’s general assembly agreed to the organising of the song contest in October 1955, under the initial title of the European Grand Prix, and accepted a proposal by the Swiss delegation to host the event in Lugano in the spring of 1956.
The Italian Sanremo Music Festival, held since 1951, was used as a basis for the initial planning of the contest, with several amendments and additions given its international nature.