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Government Denies It Rejected EU Musician Visa Deal

The UK government has denied claims that it rejected a deal from the EU that would allow musicians to enter countries that belong to the union without a visa.

It was previously reported that the UK rejected an offer of visa-free tours by musicians to EU countries, blaming Brussels for forcing them to obtain permits.

From this month, touring musicians travelling to the EU on business will require a visa.

“There is a real risk that British musicians will not be able to bear the cost of extra bureaucracy and delays which would put some tours at risk,” commented UK Music boss Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, who added that “additional costs and bureaucracy could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back”.

The UK were reported to have turned down the offer because they do not want to give the same freedoms to EU artists visiting the UK, however a government spokesperson has denied the claims.

“This story is incorrect and misleading speculation from anonymous EU sources,” a spokesperson told NME. “The UK pushed for a more ambitious agreement with the EU on the temporary movement of business travellers, which would have covered musicians and others, but our proposals were rejected by the EU.”

A source speaking to the Independent said:

“The UK refused to agree because they said they were ending freedom of movement. It is untrue to say they asked for something more ambitious.”

Another source added:

“It is usually in our agreements with third countries, that [work] visas are not required for musicians. We tried to include it, but the UK said no. It is usually in our agreements with third countries, that [work] visas are not required for musicians. We tried to include it, but the UK said no.”

Industry figures have now called for the government to give full details of what was offered for UK musicians in the Brexit trade deal talks.

“If Boris Johnson’s Tories have stopped musicians from touring in Europe to make a political point, then music fans will not forgive them,” said Alison McGovern, Labour’s shadow culture minister.