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Music

UK musicians granted visa-free travel to only one EU country

@SamWKemp

In devastating news of UK musicians, it has been revealed that only one EU member state has signed a post-Brexit deal that would have stopped musicians from being forced to purchase expensive work permits to our the continent.

This is just the latest batch of bad news for a sector that has been especially hard-hit by the government’s less-than-fruitful post-Brexit negotiations. Indeed, since the UK left the EU in January 2021, the government has continually tried and failed to secure visa-free travel and Europe-wide permits for touring musicians. Now, it has transpired that only Spain will allow musicians from the UK to tour the country without the need for a visa.

In light of this new development, The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) has called for newly-appointed Brexit minister Liz Truss to resolve the issues once and for all with the same “hardline approach” that her predecessor, Lord Frost, took before his resignation.

In a letter to the government, Deborah Annetts, the ISM’s chief executive noted: “All the problems first identified as facing the creative sector due to the TCA, in the Brexit trade deal, still remain.” After arguing that the music sector is facing what the described as “mountains of red tape”, she maintained: “The proposed solutions such as bilateral agreements with EU states have not materialised, apart from with Spain, and there are serious issues with cabotage, carnets, and designated ports.”

Annetts went on to add: “All these issues are adversely impacting the UK music industry and the broader creative industries, which is worth £116bn per annum, the same as finance or construction.” The letter was followed by a tweet from the ISM’s official Twitter account, in which the organisation called for “a visa waiver agreement, progress on Cabotage and Carnets [and] an end to the expensive red tape. These steps would make 2022 a better year for musicians,” it concluded.

In Spain, UK musicians and their crew will no longer need a visa to tour the country for less than 90 days. However, issues surrounding the transportation of merchandise and cabotage are still unresolved. As it stands, trucks travelling from the UK will only be able to make one step in an EU state before being given just seven days to make two more stops before they must return home. The music industry is keeping an eagle eye on the government in the hope that their next move will prove more beneficial for UK artists hoping to make a living from touring.