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Ministers reject visa-free post-Brexit touring for musicians

Government ministers have rebuked calls from the music industry begging them to keep fighting to secure a visa-free touring plan to ensure that musicians and crew can continue to tour the EU with ease.

This update follows the European Union firing back at the UK government’s previous bold claim that Brussels “rejected their ambitious proposals” regarding visa-free travel for touring musicians. Reportedly, the UK initially chose not to discuss long- and short-term mobility. The EU had offered visa-free touring options, which would give artists 90 days in every 180 days legal certainty across all EU MS via a joint declaration on paid activities. The UK then tried to narrow it down to 30 days, categorised as a “mode 4” commitment. Mode 4 however, doesn’t guarantee that musicians or crew wouldn’t be exempt from visas.

Now Conservative MP Caroline Dinenage acknowledged the situation in the Commons’. She claimed that the EU’s solution that they offered would not have ended free movement for citizens after Brexit and it would have allowed “visa-free short-stays for all EU citizens”.

“That is just simply not compatible with our manifesto commitment to taking back control of our borders,” she added. Dinenage then noted that the government was set to release all the details from these failed negotiations and insisted that they attempt to work with European nations “to find ways to make life easier” for musicians.

“There are 359 mentions of the £1.2billion fishing industry in the 1248 page Brexit Deal, and the outcome is a completely unworkable shambles,” wrote Mark Davyd of the Music Venue Trust in retaliation to the news. “The £110billion Creative Industries aren’t mentioned once. So let’s see how well that plays out.”

Tim Burgess of The Charlatans also noted: “Those who knew, repeatedly said what Trump would do. Some didn’t believe it until The Capitol was stormed. So many tried to warn that Brexit would cause endless issues but so many lies were told. Reality is starting to bite hard…”

Last week, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden stated: “We sought a mutually beneficial agreement that would have allowed performers to continue working and perform across the continent without the need for work permits. Musicians, artists, entertainers and support staff would have been captured through the list of permitted activities for short-term business visitors. This was a straightforward solution for our creative industries which would have benefited all sides.

“But the EU turned it down, repeatedly. It did not propose and wouldn’t accept a tailored deal for musicians and artists. I’m afraid it was the EU letting down music on both sides of the Channel – not us,” he added.