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

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

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

The EU will not allow a British city to become European capital of culture in 2023 after Brexit, dashing the hopes of Dundee, Leeds and others who were preparing bids costing hundreds of thousands of pounds.

"We disagree with the decision and we are particularly disappointed that we've been informed of this after the cities submitted their bids", a spokesperson for Prime Minister Theresa May said.

The city handed the title of European Capital of Culture is given a €1.5m (£1.3m) prize from Brussels, but it has been estimated the host city can generate many more millions as a result of the award.

Green MSP Ross Greer tweeted: "Dundee's European City of Culture bid disqualified due to Brexit, which Dundee & all of Scotland voted against".

However now the DCMS has said it wants to appeal the European Commission's ruling.

The UK was due to announce on November 30 which city was to be put forward for the accolade.

"As the prime minister said, we are leaving the European Union; we are not leaving Europe".

The UK's five final bid proposals were submitted at the end of October.

Brexit: Dundee council seeks “urgent” clarification on European Capital of Culture blow

They added that the United Kingdom wants to continue work with Europe to "promote the long-term economic development of our continent" and added the department will carry on working with those in the United Kingdom who made bids.

Representatives from Dundee and Leeds are both waiting for "urgent clarification" from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) over their bids.

A spokeswoman for the Dundee 2023 bid said: "We are hugely disappointed at this decision that has come just days before the Dundee bid team was due to travel to London to make its pitch".

He said: "This is deeply disappointing for the people of the two cities and for those who have worked so hard to progress the joint bid".

Cities from non-EU countries have previously held the event before, but bidding countries must be a candidate to join the EU or be in the European Free Trade Association or the European Economic Area.

Tom Watson, deputy leader of the Labour Party, said some cities have already spent "up to £500,000 on their bid submissions".

"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".

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