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23 November 2017, 14:15
The European Commission is reported to have written a letter cancelling any UK participation after 2019.
MK Council have told Heart for the time being, they are "pushing on" regardless.
The European Commission have told Heart:
“The decision to nominate Hungary and the UK as hosts of the European Capitals of Culture for 2023 was taken by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers in 2014, two years before the UK decided to leave the EU.
As one of the many concrete consequences of that UK decision, UK participation is no longer possible.
It therefore makes sense to discontinue the selection process.
Countries eligible to host the European Capitals of Culture are: EU member states, candidates to join and EFTA/EEA countries that participate in the Creative Europe programme.”
A spokesman from the UK's Department of Culture, Media and Sport said:
"We disagree with the European Commission's stance and are deeply disappointed that it has waited until after UK cities have submitted their final bids before communicating this new position to us.
The Prime Minister has been clear that while we are leaving the EU, we are not leaving Europe and this has been welcomed by EU leaders. 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 remain committed to working with the five UK cities that have submitted bids to help them realise their cultural ambitions and we are in urgent discussions with the Commission on the matter.”
Milton Keynes Council Leader Pete Marland said:
"We are disappointed by the position taken by the European Commission.
We are in discussions with the DCMS regarding the position.
We will not be withdrawing from the process voluntarily and remain hopeful that a compromise may be found in the future, although whatever happens nothing will reduce our ambition to continue to grow our arts, heritage and cultural sectors in Milton Keynes."