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Brexit – where are we now?

Brexit is back on the agenda in Parliament this week as the Government brought in new legislation, in the form of the Internal Market Bill. What does this mean for you? MU Head of Communications and Government Relations Isabelle Gutierrez takes a look.

Published: 18 September 2020 | 12:00 AM Updated: 28 April 2021 | 4:31 PM
Photograph of a large gathering of people at a protest, one hand is holding up a miniature placard which reads
It is clear that diplomatic relations between the UK and the EU are not in a good place, and that it is a long way from certain that a trade agreement will be reached by the end of this year.

The UK left the EU in January 2020 – and the transition period is set to end on 31 December. The latest legislation going through Parliament in its current form would give UK ministers the powers to modify or disapply rules relating to the movement of goods (rules set out in the Withdrawal Agreement) that would come into force from 1 January if the UK and the EU are unable to reach an alternative agreement through a trade deal.

This would include powers to override previously agreed obligations on state aid – government support for businesses. The Bill says these powers should apply even if incompatible with international law. Ministers say the legislation is needed to prevent “damaging” tariffs on goods travelling from the rest of the UK to NI and if negotiations with the EU on a free trade agreement fail.

Devolved administrations are concerned about how the UK’s internal market – for goods and services – will operate post-Brexit and whether the new arrangements will compromise aspects of the Good Friday Agreement. The EU has threatened legal action if the Bill is passed.

It is clear that diplomatic relations between the UK and the EU are not in a good place, and that it is a long way from certain that a trade agreement will be reached by the end of this year. This could well leave us in a ‘No Deal’ Brexit position.

Representing members in Parliament

Over the last few weeks and months, the MU has been pressing the Government and DCMS to publish advice for musicians detailing what the requirements will be for gigging and working in the EU after January if there is no deal.

We have also raised some questions in Parliament via our MP contacts, asking if the Government can assure musicians that they will be able to fulfil their booked gigs in Europe after January next year an they need to do in terms of work permits and carnets.

We’ve come a long way since starting the campaign to protect musicians working in the EU after the referendum in 2016 – but there’s a way to go to let touring musicians travel after December 2020. Your support is crucial to making this happen. Over 80,000 people have signed the petition for a Musicians’ Passport. Now it’s time to ramp up the pressure on Government so that musicians are not left in the cold.

Write your MP urgently

Email your MP via Write to Them, or find their email address via the Parliament website.

Ask them the following questions:

  • Can you put pressure on the Government and Ministers in the Home Office and Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to assure musicians and performers like myself that we will be able to fulfil our booked gigs and torus in Europe after December 2020?
  • Can you put pressure on the Government and Ministers in the Home Office and Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to urgently publish guidance regarding the work permit and carnet requirements that may be required for each EU country if there is no deal with the EU?
  • Will you ask the Prime Minister and Ministers in the Home Office and Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to guarantee the rights of working musicians and performers outlined in the Musicians’ Passport?

Remember to explain how any limitations on your ability to keep working in the EU will affect you and your career, and your full address including postcode.

And when you hear back, let us know the responses you get – share them with us on Twitter and Instagram @WeAreTheMU, or on Facebook at @musicians.union using the hashtag #WorkingInTheEU.

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