Artists and musicians ‘must have visa-free access to EU’

Fiona Hyslop said post-Brexit travel arrangements had put up 'huge barriers' for the culture sector.

Artists and musicians ‘must have visa-free access to EU’ Pixabay

Musicians and artists need visa-free access to EU countries to allow them to go on tour once coronavirus restrictions are lifted, Scotland’s culture secretary has said.

Fiona Hyslop said post-Brexit travel arrangements had put up “huge barriers” for the culture sector.

She has written to Oliver Dowden, the UK culture secretary, seeking a meeting to address the issue.

Following the end of the Brexit transition period, musicians no longer have guarantees of visa-free travel around the EU.

Hyslop said: “Scotland didn’t vote for Brexit, but Scottish artists and musicians are facing huge barriers to touring and other short-term international work compared to their EU counterparts and will have to understand and comply with 27 different visa regimes.

“That is why I am urging the UK Government to take action and have requested an urgent meeting with the UK culture secretary.

“It remains a fact that Europe is the most important international market for many who rely on touring and action is needed now to support musicians and other creative professionals to tour again, when it is safe to do so.

“It is vital that the UK Government stops its attempts to cut off Scotland’s creative talent from the rest of Europe and instead seeks to negotiate reciprocal visa-free access for artists and performers touring between the UK and EU.”

In her letter, she said an earlier meeting with Home Office minister Kevin Foster had led to progress around reforming “inward mobility” for the culture sector, but there were still major issues around touring.

Earlier this week, culture minister Caroline Dineage said the UK Government had taken a “common sense position” during negotiations with the EU over visa arrangements.

She said a proposal from the EU to resolve the issue did not deliver the binding guarantees the Government was looking for.

Ms Dineage told a Westminster’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee that agreements with individual member states are a “more likely success route”, rather than an EU-wide solution.