The European Commission told the U.K. government a British city cannot be a European Capital of Culture in 2023 — even though the scheme is open to countries that aren’t in the bloc.
In a letter obtained by POLITICO, the Commission says the British application should be “discontinued” because of the Brexit vote.
After Brexit, “the participation of the United Kingdom in the European Capital of Culture action will not be possible,” says the letter, written by Martine Reicherts, director-general in the Commission’s education and culture department.
Istanbul, Reykjavík and Stavanger in Norway have all been European Capitals of Culture despite not being part of the EU. Cities in both the U.K. and Hungary are due to be awarded the title in 2023.
But Reicherts said the scheme is only open to EU countries, candidates to join the bloc and members of the European Economic Area — and the U.K. will be none of those when it leaves the EU in 2019.
According to the European Commission website on the scheme, it aims to highlight “the richness and diversity of cultures in Europe,” to raise the international profile of host cities, and boost tourism and cultural activities.
Host cities don’t automatically get money from the EU budget, but they can receive funding for specific cultural activities or benefit from EU regional funding.
The decision for the U.K. to get a capital of culture was taken in 2014 and a call for submissions to be the host was published in December 2016, after the vote to leave the EU. In October, the Guardian reported that Dundee, Nottingham, Leeds, Milton Keynes and Belfast/Derry had expressed an interest in being the 2023 host.
The U.K.’s department for digital, culture, media and sport warned on its website that “bidding cities should be aware that the ECOC [European Capital of Culture] title may be subject to the outcome of exit negotiations which have a bearing on the U.K.’s participation.”
Tom Watson, deputy leader of the Labour Party, said “The news that the UK has been shunned from this European cultural competition is a great shame for the whole country and particularly for the cities that had put in bids to be the European Capital of Culture in 2023 … Some cities have already spent up to £500,000 on their bid submissions.”
He added that 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.”
Two British cities have been European Capital of Culture: Glasgow in 1990 and Liverpool in 2008.
Click Here: All Blacks Rugby Jersey