In a lecture on Tuesday Lord Frost, who was previously in charge of Brexit negotiations, finally admitted something that the MU has long argued - that mobility issues for musicians should be looked at again and should not be confused with immigration.
Lord Frost said:
“We should take another look at mobility issues. There is a whole set of problems here that is making life difficult on both sides: youth mobility, movement of specialists like musicians and artists, the ESTA-like arrangements that are coming in on both sides soon, and much else. These problems can be solved without compromising the general policy, to which both sides adhere, that free movement does not apply. I think we have been too purist on this. We did in fact look last year as a Government at whether we should move to a more pragmatic position, but in the depths of the vaccine wars it was impossible. This time we should try harder.”
Naomi Pohl, MU General Secretary Elect reacted:
“This is a long overdue admission from Lord Frost that an arrangement to facilitate musicians touring would not undermine the Government's immigration policy. We have said repeatedly that this is not an immigration issue and our members have unnecessarily faced two years of uncertainty. What we need is an EU-wide deal which enables our members to tour in Europe or bilateral agreements with individual territories. We have provided evidence and suggested solutions but very little progress has been made by the Government. Musicians need to be able to plan tours and accept work in the EU with confidence, particularly coming out of two dreadful years of pandemic closures.”
The MU will be urgently writing to the Government to continue this conversation.