Scotland’s politicians have reacted with fury to the European Commission’s decision to stop Dundee’s Capital of Culture bid.
The European Commission has decided no UK cities are eligible to compete in the European Capital of Culture 2023 competition, following the country’s decision to leave the EU in 2016.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was “absolutely dismayed” to hear of the Commission’s decision and said she would be writing to the UK government to ask how they “intend to fix it”.
Some have questioned why the bid was allowed to get as far as it did, despite Dundee’s announcement to bid for the competition near-coinciding with the Brexit vote.
The SNP’s Westminster Brexit spokesperson, North East Fife MP Stephen Gethins, said the title could have had great benefit not just for Dundee, but the wider surrounding area.
He: “It is very disappointing to hear that Dundee can no longer run for Capital of Culture because of Brexit.
“This would have been great for Dundee and North East Fife, bringing people to the area and boosting the local economy.”
Dundee West MSP Joe Fitzpatrick has said he is “furious” with the decision to cancel the bid, which could have serious repercussions for the city’s cultural regeneration.
In a tweet, he said: “Furious! Huge amount of effort has gone in to this bid which would have been a massive economic boost for #Dundee and Scotland.”
Scottish Conservative MSP Bill Bowman said Dundee should still strive to assert itself as a European culture capital
He said: “This will come as a huge blow to the team who have diligently put together Dundee’s submission.
“It is also a kick in the teeth for the city. These bids can take years to prepare.
“I find it hard to believe one letter should take this long to arrive.
“The city is ready to take its place as a European capital of culture, official or not.”
Labour Dundee councillor Richard McCready said he will be calling on the council to carry on with some of the planned events, despite the bid being cancelled.
He said: “This is multiple city councils across the UK who appear to have made the same mistake.
“It strikes me, between the UK Government and the European Union, that someone needs to get their act together.
“We were told by council officers who got their information from the Department for Media, Culture and Sport and the UK Government that this was not an EU only event.
“We need absolute clarity. As far as I am aware the council and other bidding cities were told by the UK Government that the bid was still on even after the Brexit vote.
“To find out that this may not be the case smacks of yet more incompetence from the UK Tory Government.”
“It is crucial that there is certainty about the bid. Dundee is a European city and I want Dundee to be one of the European cities of culture in 2023.”