(London) British music stars, including Elton John and Sting, on Wednesday accused their government of “shamefully letting down” the musicians, who can no longer travel freely for their tours in the European Union because of the Brexit.
In total, more than 100 stars, from pop singers like Ed Sheeran to songwriters like Judith Weir, co-signed a letter published by the newspaper. The Times, denouncing “the gaping hole” which musicians face.
The end of free movement between the continent and the United Kingdom since 1er January now requires them to obtain individual visas before traveling to any EU country, also resulting in additional costs.
London and Brussels are blaming each other for this situation.
The British government said it had made proposals to the EU to reach “an ambitious deal on temporary travel for business travelers that would have covered musicians”, but the EU said it refused.
The European negotiator on Brexit, Michel Barnier, denied having opposed the free movement of musicians during the talks, assuring that he had submitted to London “quite ambitious proposals in terms of mobility”.
According to the British newspaper The Independent, it was London which reportedly refused a standard EU proposal granting a three-month visa waiver to artists and creators, which Downing Street denied.
According to the signatories of the letter, the additional costs generated by these new formalities will make “many tours unviable, especially for young emerging musicians who are already struggling to keep their heads above water due to the music ban. live in the context of the pandemic ”.
On Tuesday, the British Secretary of State for Culture, Caroline Dinenage, assured that the door remained “open” to new discussions “if the EU is ready to take into account the very reasonable proposals of the United Kingdom”.
A petition to the government and the British Parliament to demand a visa waiver for music professionals and artists has collected more than 263,000 signatures.
The UK music industry is already ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic and the new restrictions have sine die the prospect of a return to concert halls, tours and festivals.