UK admits the EU did offer a solution for post-Brexit visa free artist travel

Updated: Feb 22, 2021

They strongly denied it at first, but the UK government has finally admitted the EU did offer a solution for visa free travels for artists across the EU. But the British negotiators had rejected the offer. Prime Minister Johnson has promised to have a meeting to discuss the subject, but if the UK and EU will find a solution is yet to be seen.

At first the UK blamed the EU for the lack of provisions for touring artists, while the EU blamed the UK. Now, more than two weeks after Brexit, the British have finally admitted they were the ones that rejected Brussels offer. A spokesperson told the press the offer fell short of what was required. But a source inside the British government claims it was because of a fear the deal with the EU would involve travel rights that would undermine the aims of Brexit. After all, the UK being able to control their own border was one of the main reasons for the UK leaving the EU.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to have a meeting with his MP’s to discuss the situation and claimed that:

“I know that our friends in the EU will be wanting to go further to improve things for not just musicians, but business travellers of all kinds. There is a mutual benefit.

But a deal granting British musicians visa-free travel across the EU will likely mean granting European musicians the same right in the UK. Because one of the main reasons for the British to go forward with Brexit was a tighter control over its borders and less people freely entering their country, the likelihood of this happening is rather low.

Before Brexit, it was relatively easy for artists from the UK to tour in the EU. They could simply drive across the pond with their gear and do a few shows, the same was true for European artists wanting to visit the British mainland. Post-Brexit, EU artists have to pay £244 for a visa and have £1000 in savings if they want to enter the UK. For UK artists wanting to tour in Europe rules differ from country to country, some come with small restrictions on time of stay and some countries demand artists to get pricey work visas.

Commenting on the latest developments, Deborah Annetts, CEO of the Incorporated Society Of Musicians, said:

“We are pleased to finally get clarity that there was an EU proposal to the UK during the Brexit negotiations that would have allowed permit-free tours by musicians. It is now essential for the government to deliver on its commitment to frictionless work travel by negotiating a new reciprocal agreement that allows performers to tour in Europe freely for up to 90 days”.

Sources: CMU | NME | NME