Brussels restricts Britain’s hosting of European Capital of Culture

Published on : Friday, November 24, 2017

EUBrussels will not allow the British to host the European Capital of Culture scheduled in 2023 after Brexit even though the scheme is permissible to the countries that aren’t in the European Union.



The UK would have been hosting the capital in 2023 and the candidate cities would be Leeds, Dundee, Nottingham, Milton Keynes and Belfast/Derry after preparing the bids at the taxpayers’ expense.


However, it was specified by the European Commission which administers the scheme in a letter to the British Government that UK access would be ‘discontinued’ after the Brexit vote.



Martin Reicherts, the EU director-general for Education and Culture said that after consulting services of the commission its withdrawal from the European Union, the participation of the United Kingdom in the European Capital of culture Union will not be allowed.



Sue Owens, the top civil servant at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) received the letter.



DCMS was disappointed that the Commission only informed the UK about the cancellation post the bids for the prize were submitted and the Government was in ‘urgent clarification’  from DCMS.



The chair of the Nottingham 2023 bid, Paul Russ said that despite any outcomes they will work to implement as many positive actions as a part of the bid.



The main reason behind the cancellation of UK’s hosting was Theresa May’s decision to pursue a hard Brexit and leave the European Economic Area (EEA) and single market.



Iceland and Norway were the previous countries which hosted the EU both of which are in EEA.


The letter brings forth that only members of the EEA and countries which are candidates to join EU can participate.


The programme originated in 1985 and the countries shared the capital title on a rotating basis. UK 2023 hosting would have followed Glasgow in 1990 and Liverpool in 2008.


The Department for Culture, Media and Sport website warns that the programme was subjected to exit negotiations which have bearings on the UK’s participation. The websites for the individual UK cities’ bid were still live.


A spokesperson for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said that they disagreed European Commission’s stance and was deeply disappointed that it has to wait until after the UK cities had submitted their final bids before communicating the new proposition.

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