Brexit scuppers Dundee's 2023 European Capital of Culture bids

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image copyrightAlan Richardson
image captionDundee was one of five UK cities hoping to host the title in 2023

Dundee will not be able to compete in the European Capital of Culture 2023 competition due to Brexit, the European Commission has confirmed.

Five UK cities were bidding to host the title, with the winner expected to be announced next week.

A letter from the European Commission to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said UK participation "would not be possible".

It said the UK's selection process should "immediately be discontinued".

Dundee's bid team were due to make their final presentation to the competition judges next week.

BBC Scotland understands that the DCMS only received the Commission's letter on Wednesday.

A Dundee 2023 spokesman said that the team was "hugely disappointed" at the European Commission's late decision.

He said: "The timing is disrespectful not only to the citizens of Dundee, but to people from all five bidding cities who have devoted so much time, effort and energy so far in this competition.

"It's a sad irony that one of the key drivers of our bid was a desire to further enhance our cultural links with Europe."

'Deeply concerning'

The UK's five final bid proposals were submitted at the end of October.

They were Dundee, Nottingham, Leeds, Milton Keynes, and a joint proposal from Belfast, Londonderry and Strabane.

Dundee's 80-page bid document was understood to include 110 new projects across the city.

Scotland's culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "It is now deeply concerning that the amount of time, effort and expense Dundee have put into scoping out their bid could be wasted thanks to the Brexit policy of the UK government .

"We are in urgent contact with the UK government and Dundee to understand the potential implications of this situation and to establish what action the UK Government is going to take to address it."

The DCMS said it "disagreed" with the European Commission's stance and was "deeply disappointed" that the Commission had waited until the UK cities had submitted their bids before "communicating this new position to us".

The UK government said previously that the title was "part of our plan for a dynamic, outward-looking and global Britain" post-Brexit.

However, it had warned bidders that the contest "may be subject to the outcome of those exit negotiations".

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