No European Capital of Culture for UK in 2023
Friday 01 December 2017

Last week, we received notice of the decision by the European Commission to halt the process of selection for UK 2023 European Capital of Culture in the context of Brexit. This comes as very bad news to our member, the City of Leeds, as well as the other UK cities which had already submitted their bidbooks for shortlisting.

In all due respect to the choice of the British people, LIKE joins the other numerous civil society organisations, individuals and politicians that have been ringing the warning bell upon the potential desastrous effects of the Brexit across all sectors of activity. We would especially like to express solidarity with the UK culture and arts sector, which has been exemplary in the many ways it has connected to its EU counterparts over the years, and whose international projects are likely to be hit hard by Brexit spillovers.

The European Commission had issued informal warnings with regards to the possibility of the UK 2023 ECoC selection process not being carried out over the past months. LIKE salutes the courage of UK cities that have, nonetheless, decided to maintain their bid : in this regard, they have been the strongest advocates for culture, the arts and European cooperation our cause could have ever hoped for. 

On this dreadful occasion, LIKE reiterates its commitment in supporting territorial cooperation in culture and the arts, amplifying the voices of local authorities everywhere in Europe and confronting the nationalistic agendas of a growing number of national governments. Our network is ready to take its full part in designing mechanisms to sustain cooperation between UK and EU local authorities, with special focus on the culture and arts sector.

LIKE will support any ambition by UK cities to continue their efforts in developping qualitative and impactful cultural policies with an international call. Again, our special sympathy goes to the City Council of Leeds and members of the bidding team.