After months of strained relations between the EU and the UL, some good news is desperately needed. Sadly, I can’t be the one to bring this much-needed good news.
Two days ago, the European Commission ruled that any candidate cities in the UK would be not be able continue vying for European Capital for Culture in 2023. As the UK intends to leave the EU by 2019, it is no longer eligible, according to the Commission. I’m very aware that this doesn’t seem like a major blow to the Brexit negotiations, especially since the UK does its own City of Culture event. But, it’s just another way to chip at Britain’s economic and international position.
Firstly, this is just another example of the EU flexing its muscles – if they want the union to stay together, they need Britain’s departure to be as painful as possible. Stripping the UK of its ability to participate will only anger council leaders of cities that applied and the arts community; that anger will be directed to the UK government. There is an economic dimension to this as well: being European Capital of Culture can be a great tourism boost. It can also bring in new forms of the art industry as interest grows across the city. The EU wants to ensure that it looks like the more desirable option when it comes to the arts world.
But then, the knife had to be twisted a little more. Yesterday, the Australian trade minister made it clear that the idea of trade deal with the UK would not be in its best interests. In the Brexit negotiations, both parties have agreed that they would split tariff quotas for food arriving outside of the EU, based on where each food item is consumed more. To Australia’s government, this is not an arrangement that is beneficial to them. If they were to choose which market should have a larger quota, which one would they choose? The EU’s market, covering nearly 700 million people, or the UK’s, covering 60 million?
Admittedly, things aren’t looking that bright so far for the UK’s international standing.