Thom Yorke calls UK’s decision to reject EU offer of visa-free tours “spineless”

© Tom Hagen

A report by The Independent claims that the UK has rejected the EU’s offer to waive visas for British artists.

Despite blaming Brussels for the decision, the UK has reportedly decided to reject an offer of visa-free tours for musicians travelling to the EU. The offer, which would have allowed artists from the UK to tour the EU for 90 days without a work visa, was rejected due to the government’s insistence on denying visa-free tours for EU musicians travelling to the UK. The decision comes as part of Priti Patel’s crackdown on immigration.

From this month, UK artists will have to apply for visas to visit the EU for over 30 days, and similarly, artists travelling from the EU will have to obtain visas to tour in the UK. Musicians will also have to provide proof of almost £1,000 in savings and a certificate of sponsorship from an event organiser.

Former Crack Magazine cover star Thom Yorke has called the government “spineless” for its rejection of the EU offer.

Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, UK Music’s Chief Executive, tweeted: “UK & EU both saying they wanted to allow musicians to tour freely post-Brexit but were rebuffed by the other side. A blame game helps no one – there is political will on both sides to fix this, so they should get around the table and agree a solution now.”

Horace Trubridge, the Musician Unions’ General Secretary, stated online: “With the British music business having been devastated by Covid-19 and with no end in sight to the black hole of cancelled concerts, tours, festivals and regular gigs that is the very bedrock of our world-class industry, the news, if true, that our own elected representatives chose to turn down such an offer is nigh-on unbelievable.”

“Ever since the result of the referendum in 2016, the MU has campaigned and lobbied for a Musicians’ Passport that would allow our members and their support crew to make a successful living across Europe.”

Deborah Annetts, the Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, said, “I’m horrified by this new development. The government must come clean about what steps it took to protect the performing arts in the negotiations.”

“The music sector feels deeply let down by the government and we want to get to the bottom of what happened.”

“All the way through 2020, we were given assurances that the government understood how important frictionless travel is for the performing arts.”

In January 2020, Culture Minister Nigel Adams said, “Touring is absolutely the lifeblood of the industry and we recognise the importance of the continued ease of movement of musicians, equipment and merchandise once we’ve left the EU. Visa rules for artists performing in the EU will not change until the implementation period ends in December 2020.”

He added, “It’s absolutely essential that free movement for artists is protected post-2020.”