Almost two years on and looming ever closer to the daunting date of the daubacuery that is Brexit, there may finally be a deal on the hexed horizon. On November 14th 2018, UK parliament were greeted with a 500 page long draft proposal agreement that outlined the terms and conditions of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. Prime Minister, Theresa May, has apparently been spending the best part of the post brexit vote days conversing with Brussels, and Brexit negotiation teams in order to secure the “best deal” in the “national interest”, whatever that means.

Currently, UK and European citizens are bestowed the privilege of being able to move, live, work and even retire anywhere they sit fit within the European Union without the need for complicated visas, or any form of documentation other than a passport. This is called, ‘Freedom of Movement’, something many people clearly take for granted, as when certain papers ran stories about non-EU citizens having to pay to visit Europe in the future, suddenly all the people that wanted an end to freedom of movement miraculously had a change of heart. Funny that.

Here is what really threatens the future of every single musician in the UK and Europe - ANY musician/band/artist can currently play any other country in the European Union without having to incur any legal costs, apply for visas, or any form of vetting in order to travel freely on tour and earn a living. You also don't have to pay taxes or declare your income to any other country that you play a gig in, apart from the country you are resident in (You have to declare money earned in the EU, but not via each individual countries laws/process etc). Imagine being in a band, especially in the UK, and having to apply for a visa to play Europe, having to declare income in every European country you play in, and pay tax in that country.

Currently, if you’re from the UK or Europe, you have to pay $460 for a visa to play any shows in the United States, imagine if a touring band from the UK had to apply for something similar to play shows in Europe, or vice-versa.

Many companies have also pulled out of the UK due to fears that employees may have problems entering the country due to not being British citizens, post-brexit. We cannot have something like this happening to musicians every time they want to tour Europe or the UK.

What does Brexit mean for musicians?

The new, first draft, brexit deal has now been preliminarily approved by parliament which means we’re avoiding a hard brexit (No deal). This is similar to hooking up with a groupie post-gig, pulling out before the final whistle, and praying to fuck a young version of you doesn’t come knocking at your door 18 years later. Whilst the details of the new brexit agreement are still being disclosed and deciphered in terms of how they might affect workers, we know some things for sure.

It looks like the deal will end free movement, in the Prime Ministers own words:

“When you strip away the detail the choice before us is clear. This deal, which delivers on the vote of the referendum, which brings us back control of our money, laws and borders, ends free movement...”

This is potentially devastating news for musicians and could see many bands unable to tour other European countries without serious financial support or applying for visa.

However, when you actually look at the draft agreement, you will see the following in Chapter 2 (Rights of Workers) - “workers in the host State and frontier workers in the State or States of work shall enjoy the rights guaranteed by Article 45 TFEU“ and what exactly does Article 45 of the TFEU state? - “Freedom of movement for workers shall be secured within the Union.”. That means UK citizens can still travel and work freely throughout the EU, if they can prove they have employment, or income. So, if this draft is approved then touring bands may still be able to freely tour and travel between the UK & the EU. However, it's still very unclear. EU leaders will meet on 25th November to agree on the draft, so we'll know more then.

The initial brexit draft has now been made available online and seems to state that UK and European nationals already living and working in other EU countries will still have the right to stay in the respective host state under the 2004 European Parliament Freedom of Movement Directive. This also means that bands should be able to continue touring the EU, and vice versa for musicians from the EU that want to tour the UK.

At the time of writing this, the agreement still needs to be approved. We will update this as and when more information is confirmed.

Read the full draft Here

Author Bio: AC Speed

Senior Editor

I started my career as a music journalist in 2013 and have been involved in the music industry as a touring musician, studio engineer and artist consultant since 2002, as well as previously being a signed artist. My passion for delivering high quality, informative music-related news is a daily driving force behind the content I create. Also a huge gaming nerd! Born in the United Kingdom and currently living in Sweden. Skål!


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