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Lobbying Update: Practical Action

This week, we’ve been focussed on practical ways in which we can move the issue of Brexit forward – following weeks of arguments between the UK and the EU over where the fault lies for the lack of agreement over movement for musicians.

Published: 28 January 2021 | 3:59 PM Updated: 28 April 2021 | 4:32 PM
A number of instruments in hard cases proped at the side of a stage, looking slightly chaotic.
The MU will keep up the pressure on the Government to clearly set out where the discussions failed. Photo credit: Shutterstock

It is becoming clearer that neither the UK nor the EU’s offer would have worked particularly well for our members.

The UK Government has not yet published any details of what went on, but it doesn’t appear that particularly lengthy or detailed negotiations took place. And further investigation has shown that although the EU claims to have offered a visa free arrangement, they would not have been able to overrule the ability of member states to require work permits.

The MU will keep up the pressure on the Government to clearly set out where the discussions failed, but in the meantime the main thing is to come up with a solution that works for our members.

Further actions this week

As well as giving evidence to a House of Lords committee, setting out the problems our members are now facing due to the Brexit deal, MU General Secretary Horace Trubridge has been on the phone to our colleagues at the International Federation of Musicians to work on some joint lobbying, and we’ve also been in touch with some European MEPs who may be able to help us to influence the EU side.

We have also had good news from the Netherlands, who have confirmed that British musicians can do paid work for up to six consecutive weeks in a 13 week period without a work permit.

Plans moving forward

We will therefore be working on several different fronts over the next few weeks:

  1. Working with the rest of the UK music industry to persuade the UK Government to return to the negotiating table
  2. Working with our European colleagues to pressure the EU to do the same
  3. Working with individual EU countries to agree measures, such as those in the Netherlands, that will ease touring for musicians.