British hauliers lose their sandwiches in Brexit ‘Schengenfreude’

Marco Green
January 12, 2021

Trubridge said it was unbelievable that so little is still known after months of campaigning from various music industry organisations for "musicians' passports' that would allow visa and permit-free travel".

There is now an outcry from the industry to fully disclose what was offered to United Kingdom musicians by the EU.

Earlier this week, Cabinet Office minister Lord True said talks with Brussels over visa-free travel for artists were "unlikely" to restart in the near future.

Music industry bosses were repeatedly assured that a Brexit deal would protect touring performers, plus their support teams and transportation of equipment.

Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, composer Nitin Sawhney and Charlatans singer Tim Burgess were among those who voiced criticism. The petition has been signed by almost 230,000 people.

The Department of Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) said in a statement, "The UK pushed for a more ambitious agreement with the European Union on the temporary movement of business travellers, which would have covered musicians and others, but our proposals were rejected by the European Union". However, this was reportedly rejected by the EU.

Brexit travel rules, which came into force on 1 January, do not guarantee visa-free travel for tours involving any of the EU's 27 member states. "There has to be reciprocity".

Rob Merrick's article in The Independent, suggesting it was the UK Government that rejected visa-free tours of the European Union, not the other way round as previously suggested, has sparked furore in the live music industry. Additionally, musicians must provide proof of savings and a certificate of sponsorship from the event organisers.

ISM's Deborah Annetts said: "I'm horrified by this new development". Music is at the heart of Britain's national culture, and a sector where we are genuinely world beating.

"All the way through 2020, we were given assurances that the government understood how important frictionless travel is for the performing arts", Annetts added.

Labour said that if it was confirmed the government had stopped musicians from touring in Europe simply to "make a political point, then music fans will not forgive them". "The important thing is that both sides appear to genuinely want this issue sorted, so it is imperative that they get around a table and urgently agree a solution".

Global Health Insurance Cards became available today as part of the UK's post-Brexit deal with the EU.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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