As the U.K. nears the end of the Brexit transition period which will see it withdraw from the European Union, Boris Johnson has drawn up a deal allowing permits for short-term visitors of other countries conducting certain types of business. Missing from the document were touring artists, prompting videographer Tim Brennan to launch a government and parliament petition that has amassed over 200,000 signatures.
The petition calls for the U.K. government to “negotiate a free cultural work permit” that grants its holder visa-free access to the 27 countries belonging to the EU. Musicians, bands, artists and other celebrities would be given short-term access to conduct business, as would aides and operators of touring equipment.
— Om Unit (@om_unit) December 28, 2020
2 different petitions for the same thing…. I signed both. https://t.co/M2oypaNR83
— tony_surgeon (@Tony_Surgeon) December 28, 2020
This petition is REALLY important for the future of touring in Europe so please sign & share it if you can 👍https://t.co/eYUaM9qlmS
— Disclosure (@disclosure) December 29, 2020
“The U.K. has a huge music/event touring industry which has suffered immensely due to COVID-19,” Brennan writes. “After the end of the transition period, we face further hardship when trying to tour the EU on a professional basis, with potentially each country asking for its own visa, that would be valid only for one trip.”
“As a freelancer I and many like me travel through the EU countless times a year on different tours and events,” he goes on. “This will become impossible due to cost and time if we do not have visa free travel.”
The U.K. government responds to all petitions that receive 10,000 or more signatures, and it considers any that amasses 100,000 or more for parliamentary debate. In the next couple days, a date will be announced for the official hearing.
Image credit: Brandon Erlinger-Ford