Brexit latest: EU bans UK cities from bidding for European Capital of Culture - - Ts Read

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Brexit latest: EU bans UK cities from bidding for European Capital of Culture -

The EU has banned UK cities from hosting the European Capital of Culture after Brexit despite the scheme being open to cities outside the bloc.Five British cities had been competing to host the prestigious 2023 title after finalising and submitting their final bids last month but their hopes were cut short on Thursday.A letter from Brussels to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said the UK’s inclusion in the competition “would not be possible”, the BBC reported.

It added that Britain’s bids should “immediately be discontinued”.

Dundee, Nottingham, Leeds and Milton Keynes had all lodged submissions to host the event in six years, along with Belfast, Londonderry and Strabane who launched a joint bid.

The capital of culture award rotates around European countries and the UK was tipped to have its turn in 2023.

Two British cities have previously held the accolade: Glasgow in 1990 and then Liverpool in 2008.

The DCMS said it “disagreed” with Brussels’ decision. It added it was “deeply disappointed” the European Commission had not told the UK its plan before the five bids were put forward last month.

The Government department said while Britain was leaving the EU, “we are not leaving Europe”.

When they launched their bids, the UK Government said it was part of their plan for a “dynamic, outward-looking and global Britain” after Brexit but did warn that participation could depend on the outcome of exit talks.

In the past three non-EU cities have previously held the title: Istanbul in 2010, Norway’s Stavanger in 2008 and the Icelandic capital Reykjavik in 2000.

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According to the BBC, a spokeswoman for the European Commission Office said: “As one of the many concrete consequences of its decision to leave the European Union by 29 March 2019, the UK cannot host the European Capital of Culture in 2023.

"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.

"Given that the UK will have left the EU by 29 March 2019, and therefore be unable to host the European Capital of Culture in 2023, we believe it makes common sense to discontinue the selection process now."

A DCMS spokeswoman 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.

"We want to continue working with our friends in Europe to promote the long-term economic development of our continent, which may include participating in cultural programmes.

"We remain committed to working with the five UK cities that have submitted bids to help them realise their cultural ambitions and we are in urgent discussions with the Commission on the matter."