UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has said that artists will be able to tour visa-free in 17 of the 27 countries in the European Union post-Brexit.
PM Boris Johnson’s Brexit trade deal, which was passed last December, failed to secure visa-free travel for UK artists and their crew as well as Europe-wide work permits. That sparked fears that acts will face huge costs for future live tours of the continent, which could prevent rising and developing artists from being able to afford to do so.
After over 300 figures from the arts industry signed an open letter last month urging the government to act following a “lack of progress” regarding the post-Brexit touring crisis, Dowden has now shared new information on how things will work when acts are back out on the road on the continent.
Speaking to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Dowden revealed that he has spoken to every EU member state about the issue since the new rules came in back in January, and said he understood that “some paid touring activities” will be possible in 17 of the 27 EU countries. He added that the picture now seems “much more positive” than he first thought.
Discussing his “extensive programme of engagement with EU member states,” Dowden said: “We have engaged with every member state and off the back of that we have got a much clearer picture about the extent of restrictions and it varies enormously between countries.
“And I can tell you our current analysis is that (in) at least 17 out of the 27 member states some paid touring activities are possible without needing visas or work permits. So that is a much more positive picture than initially appeared to be the case.
“The next thing we are doing is making sure we effectively communicate that so there is a better understanding of how people can tour anyway in those countries without need for further change.”
Speaking to NME about how the situation would impact on them back in February, artists including Nova Twins said that it would make planning future European tours “a nightmare” – and echoed the industry’s fears that work for crew members could be lost to the EU.
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