Milton Keynes Capital of Culture bid in jeopardy

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May | Jack Taylor  Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May | Jack Taylor Getty Images

Nottingham was due to compete against Belfast, Dundee, Leeds and Milton Keynes for the status and the chosen city was due to share the status with one from Hungary.

A spokesperson for the Dundee 2023 bid said: "The bid team are urgently seeking clarification on what this statement will mean for the Dundee bid and we will be speaking to DCMS as soon as possible".

Britain will not be allowed to host the European Capital of Culture as planned in 2023 after Brexit, despite the scheme being open to countries that aren't in the EU, Brussels has said. Seems a very bitter decision, we are not turning our backs on Europe yet this is looks like they are turning our backs on us.

Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn said the news was "a bad blow to Leeds's great bid for 2023 which has gathered so much support from across the city".

It says cities that can take the title must be either in European Union member states, or cities in candidate and EFTA/EEA countries.

The First Minister said the Tories should "hang their heads in shame" after it emerged that the European Commission has told the UK Government a British city can not hold the title in 2023.

A spokesperson for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said the government was in "urgent discussions" with the Commission about the decision.

The EU started the European Capital of Culture scheme in 1985, and now names two cities a year.


"Leeds is a city that prides itself on its multiculturalism and so is home to many different open, friendly and interesting cultures".

"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 are now in urgent contact with the UK Government and Dundee to understand the potential implications of this situation and to establish what action the UK Government is going to take to address it".

The move follows a report in October in The Irish News in which the EU's Director-General for Education and Culture Michel Magnier warned that Brexit "could be a problem" for the cities' bid.

"The Prime Minister has been clear that while we are leaving the European Union, we are not leaving Europe and this has been welcomed by European Union leaders", a No 10 spokeswoman said.

Capitals of Culture are generally from EU member states, although the nomination rules state that every three years the title may be awarded to a country in the process of applying for membership or a country in the European Economic Area.

"Given that the United Kingdom 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".

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