The UK can no longer take part in the European Capital of Culture 2023 due to Brexit. Five cities: Dundee, Nottingham, Leeds, Milton Keynes and Belfast/Derry were applying to host the programme and the bidding process was almost complete, but the European Commission has now confirmed that the UK will not be allowed to hold the role after it leaves the European Union (EU) in 2019.
Cities designated capitals of culture benefit from the title, in that they can bid for European funding for arts and cultural projects. The programme has been credited with fostering urban regeneration and raising cities’ international profiles. Glasgow (1990) and Liverpool (2008) have previously held the title. Liverpool estimated it generated a return of £750m to the local economy from £170m of spending.
A UK Government spokesperson at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) says: “We disagree with the European commission’s decision and are particularly disappointed we have been informed of their new position after UK cities have submitted their final bids and we will be working closely with the five UK cities that have submitted bids to help them realise their cultural ambitions, and we remain in urgent discussions with the commission on the matter.”
It’s obvious that the UK Government needs to set clearer terms on the position the UK will hold in the EU following Brexit and that is one of the consequences of leaving.
Cover Image © Dundee 2023 campaign