LONDON (AP) – Dozens of British music stars, including Elton John, Ed Sheeran and conductor Simon Rattle, claim the musicians have been ‘shamefully failed’ by the UK government, forcing them to face post-Brexit restrictions on touring in the European Union.
In a letter published Wednesday in The Times of London, more than 100 musicians, including Sting, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd and Roger Daltrey of The Who, as well as heads of major arts institutions, said the new trade deal between the Kingdom United and the EU which entered into force in January. 1 has “a gaping hole where the free movement promised for musicians should be”.
Britain’s departure from the EU means that British citizens can no longer live and work freely in the 27-nation bloc. Tourists do not need a visa for stays of up to 90 days, and some small business trips are also permitted. But the artists and musicians were not included in the agreement.
Britain and the EU disagree on responsibility for the omission, each accusing the other of rejecting a deal for touring artists.
The new rules mean that British artists must comply with different rules in the 27 EU countries, negotiating visas for musicians and permits for their equipment. Many say the costs and red tape will make it impossible for British artists to perform on the continent, endangering the country’s status as a cultural powerhouse.
The Musicians’ Letter said the new spending and bureaucracy would make “many tours unsustainable, especially for young, emerging musicians who are already struggling to keep their heads above water due to the COVID ban on live music. “
Scottish National Party lawmaker Pete Wishart, former member of rock band Runrig, told the House of Commons on Tuesday that musicians and performers were “just collateral in this government’s obsession with ending the freedom of movement ”and to control immigration once he has left the EU.
Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage acknowledged the situation was “incredibly disappointing”, but said “the door is open” for talks with the EU on a deal for musicians. She has resisted opposition calls to release details of proposals made by the UK in negotiations that the bloc has reportedly rejected.
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