Documents considered by the Committee on 13 July 2016 Contents

8European Capitals of Culture

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

Not cleared from scrutiny; further information requested; drawn to the attention of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee

Document details

Proposal for a European Parliament and Council Decision amending Decision No. 445/2014/EU establishing a Union action for the European Capitals of Culture for the years 2020 to 2033

Legal base

Article 167(5), TFEU; QMV; Ordinary Legislative Procedure

Department

Culture, Media and Sport

Document Numbers

(37888), 10532/16 + ADD 1, COM(16) 400

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

8.1The European Capitals of Culture Programme is designed to highlight the diversity of European cultures as well as shared features and to foster the contribution of culture to the development of cities. Since 1985, over 50 cities have been designated as European Capitals of Culture, two of which were in the UK (Glasgow, 1990 and Liverpool, 2008). The UK is next scheduled to host a European Capital of Culture in 2023.

8.2The agreed EU Decision for the Programme until 2033 excluded those European Free Trade Association Countries that are parties to the European Economic Area Agreement (i.e. Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). The Commission proposes to amend the Decision to include those countries as long as they participate in the EU’s cultural funding programme, “Creative Europe”.

8.3The Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, Mr Edward Vaizey, says that no new policy implications arise from this proposal at the current time. He notes that the UK is scheduled to host a European Capital of Culture in 2023.

8.4The Commission’s proposal is uncontentious. It assumes a new importance, however, in the context of the UK’s decision to withdraw from the European Union. The UK is due to host a European Capital of Culture in 2023 and will need to launch a call for applications in 2017, for which various UK cities are already preparing bids.

8.5Our understanding is that the UK’s status as an identified host Member State derives from its membership of the European Union. We interpret the current and proposed new rules as meaning that the UK would only be eligible to participate if it was involved in the Creative Europe Programme and if it was either a member of the EEA through EFTA or was a candidate to accede to the EU after it had withdrawn.

8.6While the Minister acknowledges an awareness that the UK is scheduled to host the European Capital of Culture in 2023 he sheds no light on the impact of Brexit. We ask for a clear statement from the Government as to whether or not the UK will be in a position to host a European Capital of Culture in 2023. We also ask that the Minister clarify whether a Call for Applications will be launched in 2017, as required, and whether the Department has had any contact with the prospective host cities.

8.7We judge that the uncertainty regarding the UK European Capital of Culture 2023 will be of interest to our colleagues on the Culture, Media and Sport Committee and we therefore draw this document to the attention of that Committee. We retain the proposal under scrutiny and look forward to a response by the end of September.

Full details of the documents

Proposal for a European Parliament and Council Decision amending Decision No. 445/2014/EU establishing a Union action for the European Capitals of Culture for the years 2020 to 2033 : (37888), 10532/16 + ADD 1, COM(16) 400.

Background

8.8The European Capitals of Culture (ECoC) initiative was developed in 1985 and has, to date, been awarded to more than 50 cities across the European Union. It is designed to:

8.9According to the European Commission, experience has shown that the initiative is an excellent opportunity for:

8.10The EU has agreed that two Member States may host the ECoC each year based on a chronological order set out in Decision 2020 to 2033. It was also agreed that, every third year, cities from candidate countries or potential candidates may participate as long as they participate in the Creative Europe funding programme.

8.11Individual cities are chosen by the Member State based on a call for applications six years in advance. A short list of cities is then asked to submit more detailed applications on the basis of which one city is formally designated as the ECoC four years in advance. A grant of €1.5 million (£1.176 million) is available from the Creative Europe programme subject to successful preparation. Evaluation takes place after the event and is submitted to the European Commission.

The Commission’s proposal

8.12The Commission proposes to amend the current rules in order that cities from European Free Trade Association countries which are parties to the European Economic Area Agreement (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) may also participate on the same basis as other third countries. Unlike the established participation of each EU Member State on a rotating basis, cities from all of the EEA/EFTA, applicant and potential applicant countries will compete against each other for the identified third country slots in 2021, 2024, 2028, 2030 and 2033.

The Minister’s Explanatory Memorandum of 7 July 2016

8.13The Minister sets out the Government’s standard position on EU documents since the UK’s vote to leave the EU:

“On 23 June, the EU referendum took place and the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. It will be for the next Prime Minister to begin negotiations to exit the EU, and until exit negotiations are concluded, the UK remains a full member of the European Union and all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in force. During this period the Government will continue to negotiate, implement and apply EU legislation.”

8.14On the proposed change to the European Capitals of Culture Decision, he adds:

“As a member state there are no new policy implications arising from this proposal at the current time. The UK is scheduled to hold the ECoC title in 2023; as outlined in the chronological list, indicating which member states will hold the title in the years 2020 to 2033, Annexed to Decision No. 445/2014/EU.”

Previous Committee Reports

None.





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18 July 2016