Brexit: Best for UK is to behave, says Barnier
The pop legend has previously warned of an “impending catastrophe” facing the UK music industry due to new travel restrictions for touring the EU. Barnier, the former EU Brexit negotiator, held talks with the icon today, claiming that touring musicians could have been freed from the bureaucracy by Downing Street. The Frenchman said: “Very happy to meet and discuss today with Elton John, who despite Brexit, is fighting for free movement and visa-free arrangements for artists.
“Citizens, artists and students are the first to lose out from Brexit.
It didn’t have to be this way.
The couple’s meeting comes after Brexit Minister Lord Frost responded to Sir Elton last week, saying the musician had managed to succeed before the UK joined the EU.
Lord Frost insisted that the pop legend did not need the block to become a leading artist in the world.
Michel Barnier has joined Sir Elton John’s attack on the Government’s Brexit strategy (Image: TWITTER / MICHEL BARNIER)
Michel Barnier was the EU’s main Brexit negotiator (Image: GETTY)
He said: “I can’t help but notice that it had its first successes before the UK became a member of the European Union.”
The dispute arose after the singer gave an interview criticizing the government’s approach to Brexit and touring musicians and artists.
Sir Elton said: “I am furious about what the Government did when Brexit happened.
“They made no provision for the entertainment business, and not just for the musicians, actors and film directors, but for the teams, the dancers, the people who make their living going to Europe.
“We have been talking to Lord Strasburger about it, and we have been talking to Lord Frost, but we really got nowhere with him.
Pop legend Sir Elton John (Image: GETTY)
“It is a nightmare for young people just starting a career, it is crucifying.”
When asked why he thinks he encountered so much resistance in those conversations, the singer replied: “The government is Philistines.
“We’ve gotten used to governments, especially the British government, just telling us lies every day, and I don’t feel good about that.”
Lord Frost has said that it would be “extremely helpful” if musicians and music industry representatives could “use their relationships” within the EU “to encourage those governments to be less restrictive”.
The Brexit minister told MPs: “I said that to Elton John and I will tell others.
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European trade outlook after Brexit (Image: EXPRESS)
“We need that kind of help and support, and I am convinced that it would make a big difference to improve the situation.”
The government has previously said that its attempts to secure better conditions for touring musicians during the Brexit trade talks were rejected by the EU.
Currently, there are no different rules in the different EU countries for bands and artists seeking to practice their trade in the bloc.
In December, a government spokeswoman said: “Short-term visitors to the EU can continue to participate in business meetings, receive training and attend sporting and cultural events, among other permitted activities, without the need for a visa.
“Some member states may allow other types of visa-free business travel, so people must check the rules of the country they are traveling to.”
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She added: “The UK pushed for a more ambitious deal with the EU on the temporary movement of business travelers, which would have included musicians and others, but our proposals were rejected by the EU.”
“We recognize that there may be some additional processes for those working in the creative industries, but we have ensured that the long-term business travel visa application processes are transparent to provide certainty and clarity.”
Brussels has previously claimed that it made proposals during the Brexit negotiations, but the government team rejected them.
But No. 10 says this offering is too close to replicating the bloc’s principles of free movement.