O’Neill challenges European Commission on decision to prevent City of Culture bid 2023
Sinn Féin Leader in the North, Michelle O’Neill MLA has challenged the European Commission decision to prevent the European Capital of Culture 2023 partnership bid by Derry City and Strabane District Council and Belfast City Council.
Michelle O’Neill said:
“Sinn Féin is fully supportive of this partnership bid, which has the potential to bring much needed economic growth to the region.
“Since the Good Friday Agreement the European Union has been a critical partner for peace providing substantial political and financial aid which has led to greater economic and social progress.
“The EU established a Taskforce here in 2007 - the first of its kind where the European Commission has worked so closely with a single region within the EU.
“President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker announced on 14 January 2016 its continuation.
“It is therefore with serious concern that we have learned that the Commission has decided that the selection process should be discontinued as a consequence of the British Government’s decision to withdraw from the European Union.
“I consider the position being adopted by the EU Commission to be politically punitive and am concerned at the precedent it may now set. It is unacceptable.
“I have therefore written to the EU Commissioner for Culture, Tibor Navracsics, President of the Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and President of the European Council, Donald Tusk to challenge this decision and convey in the strongest terms my concerns.
“I have also raised these concerns directly with the Irish Government who I feel must argue the case from an all-island position in Europe.”