Thursday, 14 December, 2017

EU blocks United Kingdom cities from European Capital of Culture bids after Brexit

V&a dundee alan richardson Dismay as 2023 UK European Capital of Culture is cancelled 23 November 2017 By Ella Braidwood Full screen
Sammy Stanley | 23 November, 2017, 18:12

"I am absolutely dismayed by the news that I've heard this morning from the European Commission that Dundee's European Capital of Culture bid looks as if it is going to be the latest victim of the Tories' obsession with taking this country out of the EU against our will".

Liverpool was the last city in this country to be the European Capital of Culture back in 2008, and Milton Keynes would have been up against Nottingham, Dundee and Leeds this time around.

A terse letter to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) from Brussels informed United Kingdom officials "on grounds of sound and responsible management of human and financial resources, the Commission considers that the selection process should immediately be discontinued".

"The government must now explain how they intend to ensure that Brexit does not leave us culturally isolated from Europe and how the economic and cultural benefits that accompany the European capital of culture will be maintained".

And cities including Istanbul, Reykjavík and Stavanger have all been awarded European Capital of Culture titles despite not being within the European Union.

The decision to exclude British cities from the bid could result in hundreds of thousands of pounds being wasted, as British cities were urged to bid in December 2016, after the Brexit vote was cast.

"Some cities have already spent up to £500,000 on their bid submissions".

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Nicola Sturgeon has said she is "absolutely dismayed" that Dundee's bid to become European Capital of Culture appears to have been scuppered by Brexit.

'Being the Capital of Culture had a transformative effect in Glasgow and Liverpool, fuelling regeneration, tourism and community pride.

Two days later, Belfast City Council's Chief Executive Suzanne Wylie said there was "no reason to be concerned" about the fate of the bid.

"The timing is disrespectful not only to the citizens of Dundee, but to people from all five bidding cities who have devoted so much time, effort and energy so far in this competition".

Under new rules, the prize is open to entrants from European Union member states as well as candidate and potential members.

"It's a sad irony that one of the key drivers of our bid was a desire to further enhance our cultural links with Europe".

The spokeswoman continued: "According to the rules adopted by the European Parliament and the Council (Decision 445/2014), this action is not open to third countries except candidate countries and European Free Trade Association/European Economic Area countries".

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