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U.K. REJECTED E.U. VISA-FREE TOURING: REPORT 

The U.K. government has landed in hot water over a report that says it rejected an offer from the E.U. to allow British musicians to tour E.U. countries without visas.

According to The Independent, the U.K. was offered a “standard” proposal to exempt performers from the cost and bureaucracy that comes with visa applications for multiple countries for a 90-day period. However, the government reportedly turned it down because it didn’t want to allow the same terms for E.U. artists visiting the U.K. 

Multiple music organizations have been pushing for visa-free travel throughout the Brexit negotiation process.

Musicians’ Union General Secretary Horace Trubridge said the reported rejection of an offer from the E.U. is “nigh-on unbelievable.” “Negotiators on both sides should continue to acknowledge the importance of cultural life and its huge social and economic value by finding an acceptable solution,” he said.

Previously, the British government’s Department of Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) said that the U.K. had “pushed for a more ambitious agreement with the E.U.” but blamed Brussels for turning it down. The department called the recent story “incorrect and misleading speculation."

Music Managers Forum CEO Annabella Coldrick described the report as “utter insanity," saying, “Music is at the heart of Britain’s national culture, and a sector where we are genuinely world-beating. For the sake of our artists, our musicians, and the tens of thousands of people who work in live music, we need urgent clarity from Ministers as to what is going on and an immediate commitment to resolve the situation to avoid a serious impact on our ability to tour the EU post-COVID."

A petition asking for Europe-wide visa-free work permits for touring professionals and artists has gained more than 247k signatures and has been backed by the likes of Dua LipaLaura Marling and Biffy Clyro

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