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Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop writes to the European Commission and UK Government on 2023 European Capital of Culture

Published: 25 Nov 2017 13:00

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop has written to Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Karen Bradley MP, and Director General for Education, Youth Sport and Culture at the European Commission, Martine Reicherts, on the UK hosting the European Capital of Culture competition in 2023.

The text of the letters can be viewed below.

Dear Karen

I'm writing to seek urgent clarity from you regarding the hosting of the European Capital of Culture competition in 2023.

You will be aware that Dundee City Council's aspiration is to become European Capital of Culture in 2023 and they submitted their bid by 27 October, as instructed by your department.  Dundee have put a considerable amount of time, effort and expense into scoping out their bid and are excited about the many benefits  such a bid would generate in Dundee, Scotland, the rest of the UK and Europe.  A successful bid will deliver 1,600 new jobs, an additional 500,000 visits to the city during the year and the programme of events would leave a lasting legacy. Dundee's bid has the full backing of the Scottish Government and cross-party support in the Parliament.

So I am extremely disappointed to learn that the significant contributions the Dundee team and Dundonians have put into developing their bid may be wasted as a result of the UK Government's position to pursue a damaging Brexit. Given this I suggest you consider meeting with the Dundee Bid Team in London next week and write to them acknowledging the resource, time and effort they put into the bid.

As the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Culture and External Affairs in Scotland I recognise the valuable role culture can have in promoting outward-looking, welcoming and progressive values, more important now than they have been in recent years. I trust, as UK Secretary of State for Culture, you too recognise the enormous benefits international cultural engagement can bring to help promote these values, and how essential it is to continue to participate in partnerships like the European Capital of Culture.

With that in mind, I expect to receive an urgent response to ascertain the full implications of the situation and an indication as to what steps the UK Government intends to take with the EU to address this unacceptable position.

Yours sincerely

Fiona Hyslop

 

Dear Ms Reicherts

I am writing to seek urgent clarity from you regarding the UK hosting of the European Capital of Culture competition in 2023.

It was not the Scottish Government’s policy to have an EU Referendum. We should not forget that on 24 June last year 62% of people in Scotland voted to maintain our relationship with the EU. Our ties with Europe are historic, and we need to protect them if we are to continue to reap the benefits – both from an economic perspective, but moreover to protect our commitment to human cultural and intellectual collaboration.

Dundee City Council have an aspiration to become European Capital of Culture in 2023 and they submitted their bid on 27 October, as required by the UK Government Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport. Dundee have put a considerable amount of time, effort and resource into their bid and are excited about the many benefits such a bid would generate for Dundee, Scotland and Europe. Dundee’s bid has the full backing of the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament.

Dundee is the first city in the United Kingdom to be recognised as a UNESCO City of Design in an illustrious network, from Berlin, to Saint-Étienne to Bilbao. All outstanding contributors to areas of creativity and design. Dundee is an international success story continuing to use culture and creativity as a catalyst to promote regeneration and design, areas the city are pioneers in. Dundee’s bid sought to offer a European Capital of Culture year like no other, bringing the city, Scotland and Europe together, connecting people and places through colourful events and engaging programmes, making connections through our shared creativity that strengthen our ties and make us truly European.

As the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs in Scotland I recognise the valuable role culture can have in promoting outward looking, welcoming and progressive values, perhaps more important now than they have ever been.

Whilst the preference of the Scottish Government would be to remain a full member of the European Union, we sincerely hope that cultural collaboration is an area which will form part of the UK’s future partnership with the EU. We will do our utmost to persuade the UK Government of the importance of continuing to participate in European partnerships like the European Capital of Culture and in that vein I would urge you to reconsider this decision. I would be keen to discuss this further with you and Commissioner Navracsics.

Yours sincerely

Fiona Hyslop