Brexit. For those not overly familiar with the whole thing, it is basically the decision made by the UK to leave the European Union trading bloc. Decided by a referendum in 2016, the UK only left the EU after a four year “transition period” at the end of 2020, with a last minute deal coming into play that covered various aspects of trade that are far too complex to go into here. Yet crucially for musicians, a key point in Brexit was ending “free movement” a system whereby anyone was free to travel, work, and live in various EU states without the need for visas. This has come as quite a blow to British touring musicians, who now face the prospect of visas for EU tours, and both sides are now arguing over who was responsible, as the EU blames the UK, and the UK blames the EU.
Now it must be noted that the UK was never in the Schengen free-travel zone, so anyone entering EU states from the UK still had to show their passport, and most EU states required that people staying for longer periods to live/work had to show proof of a job/savings, a place to live, medical insurance, etc, as anyone who’s done a season in Ibiza and queued for hours in the scorching heat to get their NIE will testify. These new rules however mean that if you’re a British citizen doing short stays in EU countries, for example one gig a night across seven countries, you will now need a visa do to so, and crucially truck drivers carrying equipment will now need to return to the UK after visiting just two member states.
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