The five cities who were bidding to be the European Capital of Culture 2023, Nottingham, Belfast, Leeds, Dundee and Milton Keynes, have released a statement after the European Commission stated that the UK would not be able to participate.
According to the statement, the five cities had a meeting with representatives of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and John Glen MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, to discuss the ‘legitimacy’ of the European Commission’s latest decision.
The five cities highlighted that ‘the announcement by the European Commission counters a very recent decision of the European Parliament in June 2017 and of the Council in September 2017, which includes a calendar confirming the UK as the host country in 2023.’
“the five cities expressed gratitude to all the support that they have received”
They go on to mention that they are ‘seeking [for] clarity’, due to the fact that the UK has not yet left the EU and that no terms of the departure have been discussed. In addition, they have requested that DCMS take ‘on the legal status of the announcement as a matter of urgency.’
The meeting was said to have been positive as they were encouraged by the DCMS ‘commitment to try and resolve this issue with the European Commission and agree [on] a clear way forward for the cities involved.’
In the statement, the five cities expressed gratitude for all the support that they have received. In particular, the support from previous and future European Capitals of Culture and the members of the independent judging panel.
“intensive and constructive discussions will continue over the coming weeks”
They claim that all of this support proves how arts and culture are able to ‘bring the peoples of Europe close together’, and how the ‘five cities were united in their desire to find solutions which will enable them to realise their cultural ambitions and further develop their cultural integration with people across Europe.’
The statement ended by informing everyone that ‘intensive and constructive discussions will continue over the coming weeks.’
Immy, a second-year Human Genetics student, said: “I understand where the European Commission is coming from considering the EU referendum, however, it had already been confirmed that the UK would be the host country in 2023. Hopefully, the terms of the UK leaving the EU will soon be agreed and will be made clear to avoid such problems in the future.”