MUSICIANS and artists need visa-free access to EU countries to enable them to tour once the coronavirus restrictions are lifted, Scotland’s Culture Secretary has argued.

Fiona Hyslop said post-Brexit travel arrangements had imposed “huge barriers” on the culture sector.   

In the aftermath of the Brexit transition period, musicians no longer have assurances of visa-free travel around the EU.

She said: “Scotland didn’t vote for Brexit, but Scottish artists and musicians are facing huge barriers to touring and other short-term international work compared to their EU counterparts and will have to understand and comply with 27 different visa regimes.”

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Hyslop has written to Oliver Dowden, the UK Culture Secretary, seeking an urgent meeting and imploring the UK Government to “take action”.

“It remains a fact that Europe is the most important international market for many who rely on touring and action is needed now to support musicians and other creative professionals to tour again, when it is safe to do so.

“It is vital that the UK Government stops its attempts to cut off Scotland’s creative talent from the rest of Europe and instead seeks to negotiate reciprocal visa-free access for artists and performers touring between the UK and EU,” she continued.

In her letter, she spoke of a valuable meeting with Home Office Minister Kevin Foster which had prompted progress with regards to reforming “inward mobility” for the culture sector. However, she asserted that there are still major issues surrounding touring.

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Earlier this week, Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage said the UK Government has adopted a “common-sense position” during negotiations over visa arrangements.

She said that a proposal from the EU to resolve the issue failed to deliver the binding guarantees the Government sought.

Dinenage told the Westminster Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee that micro agreements with individual member states are a “more likely success route” than a macro, all-encompassing, EU-wide solution.