BBC Radio 2 host, Jeremy Vine, launched a scathing attack on the EU after Brussels refused to renegotiate terms over a reciprocal visa between the UK and EU for touring musicians. During an interview on Channel 5, Vine said: “It’s their loss. The UK has the best music in the world.”
Vine expressed his dismay at how the bloc could agree a deal with the UK that would see bands such as The Vamps or The Rolling Stones unable to play live on the continent. Mr Vine said: “There is no way of me saying this without sounding a bit nationalistic here but the fact is we have the best music in the world.”
“I don’t understand why if you were in the EU, why you would ever contemplate a deal with the UK that meant you could not see the Vamps live or the Stones. It is a big issue and I want to see how that shakes down,” he added.
Shortly after the completion of the Brexit transition period, it emerged that a deal agreed on Christmas Eve did not include provisions for UK and EU musicians to travel visa free. A tit-for-tat spat then ensued with Westminster and Brussels each blaming the other for failing to strike a deal.
A petition was started, endorsed by some of Britain’s biggest music stars, urging the UK government to rectify the situation. However, EU officials have been accused of refusing to come back to the negotiating table, prompting Mr Vine’s outburst.
While the UK allows European artists and musicians to perform in Britain to undertake paid work for up to a month without a visa, UK musicians are subject to different visa requirements across the remaining 27 EU member states.
Barnier blasts UK
Michael Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, has insisted that it was the UK government’s decision not to issue visas to touring musicians. He said: “It was the UK’s decision, I’m not going to keep debating this with the British government.”
“We issued a proposal as early as March for an ambitious partnership on the free movement of our citizens. This was rejected in the name of British independence, of sovereignty and of the country’s new immigration policy which clashed with this proposal,” Barnier added.
A spokesperson for the government said: “Proposals during negotiations were based on feedback from the music sector and would have allowed musicians to tour – but the EU repeatedly rejected them. The EU’s offer wouldn’t have worked for musicians and didn’t respect our commitment to take back control of our borders.”
“The UK remains more open to touring musicians from the EU than many EU member states are for UK musicians. The EU and member states could match our arrangements tomorrow if they wanted to, and we hope those in the music industry who have spoken passionately about touring in Europe will encourage them to do so,” the spokesperson said.
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