UK government clarifies visa rules for UK artists touring the EU

Music industry figures say there is ‘nothing new’ in UK government claim that UK artists can tour 19 EU countries for short visa-free tours .

London made the announcement Wednesday saying that he had come after discussion with each member state of the bloc.

“Based on these discussions, 19 Member States have confirmed that UK musicians and performers do not need visas or work permits for short tours,” the UK Department for Digital Culture said, Media and Sports in a press release.

The 19 countries are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden.

The government said it was “actively engaging with other EU member states that do not allow visas and allow free tours, and called on them to align their arrangements with generous UK rules. , which allow touring artists and support staff to come to the UK for up to three months visa-free ”.

But Greg Parmley, CEO of LIVE, a federation of the music industry, said he was grateful the government had clarified “pre-existing arrangements regarding travel to a number of EU countries,” he said. there was “nothing new in their last announcement”.

“We are still a long way from visa-free travel to the EU,” he said.

“There are no new ‘frictionless’ agreements and in reality, this is just a tiny piece of a much bigger touring puzzle, and significant financial and bureaucratic barriers remain that put them at a disadvantage. disproportionately smaller and emerging artists. “

He insisted that the government should introduce a “transitional support package” to support the industry while negotiations are ongoing.

Paul W Fleming, general secretary of Equity, a creative arts union, said the government’s clarification was an “expected but welcome first step.”

But he said the industry was still awaiting “a country-by-country breakdown of how this will work in practice, appropriate definitions of short-term tours and the implications on diaries and cabotage for small-scale productions” .

He urged the government to release these details immediately.

A letter published in The Times earlier this year and signed by prominent artists including Ed Sheeran, Elton John, Glass Animals, Liam Gallagher and the Sex Pistols, also argued that “expensive work permits” and “a mountain of paperwork for their equipment ‘required to turn would be particularly distressing for young musicians.

The Let the Music Move campaign – supported by artists such as Radiohead, The Chemical Brothers, Sampha, Annie Lennox and New Order – highlighted for example that the European touring market for British artists is the largest in the world, close to four times the size of the United States. .

A campaign spokesperson called the latest announcement to Euronews a “confession of failure” by the UK government:

“Failure to keep promises made by the government regarding securing the future of our industry during negotiations, failure to ‘fix’ the problem, as per the Prime Minister’s statement in March of this year, and failure to provide a certainty about touring nearly a third of EU countries, eight months after the music industry faced a no-deal scenario. “

“The fact remains that the UK music industry is in a much less advantageous position now than it was before January,” they added.

They also called on the government to publish touring requirements for artists and teams for each of the 27 member states.

The Musicians’ Union called the latest announcement a “positive development” in a statement to Euronews, adding that it “needs to see the details to be sure what it means for musicians”;

“There are also still major problems in countries like Spain and with problems like books, cargo, cabotage and dispatch vans, we will continue to push the government to do more to address them,” said the spokesperson.

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