Brexit 'bombshell' for UK's European Capital of Culture 2023 plans

From BBC - November 23, 2017

The European Commission has cancelled the UK's turn to host the European Capital of Culture after Brexit, disappointing the bidding cities.

Five places have already bid to hold the title in 2023 - Dundee, Nottingham, Leeds, Milton Keynes and Belfast/Derry.

But the commission has said the UK will no longer be eligible to have a host city after it leaves the EU in 2019.

The Creative Industries Federation said it was "gutted" and the UK Government said it "disagrees" with the move.

The title of European Capital of Culture rotates around European countries, and it was due to be the UK's turn in 2023.

Liverpool was the last British city to be a European Capital of Culture, in 2008, following Glasgow in 1990.

Cities from non-EU countries have held the title before - but if a country is not in the EU, it must be a candidate to join or must be in the European Free Trade Association or European Economic Area.

Government 'deeply disappointed'

A spokeswoman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said the government was in "urgent discussions" with the commission about the decision.

"We disagree with the European Commission's stance and are deeply disappointed that it has waited until after UK cities have submitted their final bids before communicating this new position to us," a statement said.

"The prime minister has been clear that while we are leaving the EU, we are not leaving Europe and this has been welcomed by EU leaders."

The statement said the government wants the UK to continue "working with our friends in Europe", including in cultural programmes, and will work with the bidders to "help them realise their cultural ambitions".


The Creative Industries Federation, which represents the arts sector, said: "We are gutted to learn that the UK will not be allowed to host the European Capital of Culture as planned in 2023 after Brexit.

"This is despite the fact that cities in Europe that are outside the European Union have participated in the scheme historically."

It added that people were "working feverishly behind the scenes to reverse this decision".

The federation's deputy chief executive Rosie Millard, who was to be among the contest's judges, wrote on Twitter: "Very sad for the 5 bidding cities. I am on the judging panel & have seen all their hard work. #Brexitfallout"

'Disrespectful' timing

'Shoddy treatment'

'Concrete consequences'


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