At the end of last year, the Government announced the launch of a nationwide competition to find the 2023 European Capital of Culture. Every year, two cities are designated Capital of Culture by the European Union and organise a series of cultural events. Being chosen as the European Capital of Culture can potentially bring increased investment, create jobs, and boost the local economy.
The UK was already set to host in 2023, along with Hungary, before the country voted to leave the European Union in June. Although the European Union appoints the title of European Capital of Culture it is still currently unknown, whether the EU will proceed with letting the UK host European Capitals of Culture as a consequence of Brexit. However, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s announcement at the end of last year suggest that it is proceeding under the assumption that a UK city will host the event in 2023. Previously, three non-EU cities have held the title; Istanbul, Turkey, in 2010, Stavanger, Norway, in 2008 and Reykjavik, Iceland, in 2000.
Last month Cornwall Council’s Independent-Lib Dem cabinet voted to spend £536,000 on a bid to win the title for the city of Truro in 2023. Cornwall Council said the title could “boost the Cornish economy by £100m”.
Following a discussion and vote, it was narrowly passed by nine votes to eight that Truro City Council supports Cornwall Council’s bid to make Truro a European Capital of Culture. The plans will go back to Cornwall Council Cabinet on Tuesday and the bid for European Capital of Culture will be formally launched on 3 March.
Dr Julia Reid MEP, who represents the South West Counties and Gibraltar, said, “First and foremost, I think this should be a decision for the people of Cornwall to make. However, from what I understand, Cornwall Council failed to conduct even a basic consultation before they announced the bid for the European Capital of Culture, which is incredibly concerning to say the least”.
“However despite this, the competition will almost certainly attract an unprecedented amount of media coverage to Truro, regardless as to whether or not it wins the title.
“As it has with former capitals of culture, should the city actually win the title, it will almost certainly benefit from the increased profile and visitor numbers.
“Therefore, in my opinion, I think the bid is well worth the half a million pound price tag, and although it sounds a lot, it still only works out to be less than a £1 per person. This may even work out to be considerably less for the taxpayer, as a member of the Cornwall Council has said that number or organisations will help to foot some of the bill. Ultimately, I think this is a worthy investment, as the benefits of the increased media coverage are priceless.”
The Department for Culture, Media & Sport is responsible for running the European Capital of Culture competition process for the UK competition, whilst a cross-EU panel of experts will select the winning UK city to hold the ECoC title.