Has the EUYO case changed your view on Brexit?

Has the EUYO case changed your view on Brexit?


norman lebrecht

May 17, 2016

Brussels decision to remove funding from the European Union Youth Orchestra has all the hallmarks of EU misrule.

1 It is an unnecessary decision understood by no-one, probably even not by the hapless Hungarian commissioner who signed it.

2 It saves no money. €600,000 is peanuts in the EU waste mountain.

3 It ruins young lives, kills hope across the continent.

4 It has no democratic accountability, no right of appeal.

5 It achieves nothing…

6 … except inasmuch as it turns people off from the tarnished European ideal.

7 It is a symptom of tone-deaf governance, a Juncker regime that cannot hear the music.

So how does the decision affect your Brexit vote on June 23?




  • DESR says:

    Not a jot.

  • Furzwängler says:

    I’ll still be voting to get out of the rotten edifice that is the European Union.

    • DESR says:

      I can’t see how this very sad drop in the very big ocean should make any difference to anyone in the Great Matter.

  • Halldor says:

    It’s nudged it, certainly. My instinct all along has been that despite the massive corruption, inefficiency and lack of democratic accountability at the centre of the EU, it still, somehow, stood for certain shared ideals – ideals that the EUYO represents at their very peak. But I’ve had a deepening suspicion that the EU is being run for financial interests – that the idealism has drained, and is still draining from it – and the parade of wealthy and powerful establishment figures that the “in” campaign has rolled out to say, in effect “Little people! Don’t rock the boat if you know what’s good for you” hasn’t exactly allayed that.

    Now this. The sum involved is loose change for an institution that shifts its entire operation from Brussels to Strasbourg monthly purely to suit vested interests. And the symbolism! I’d like to think the EU at least wanted to look like its founding ideals still mattered – that it cared what we thought, that it at least mattered for it to be seen to pay lip-service (if nothing else) to the Europe of Beethoven and Mahler, of youth, creative collaboration and love of culture. The sudden, total cut; the dalek-speak justification; the fact that no-one there was apparently able or willing to step in and stop the bureaucracy mechanically following its course – that no-one in those huge glitzy office buildings that we all pay for one could or did say: “hang on – this is the EUYO!” – that the very letters “EUYO”, with all they stand for weren’t enough in themselves to make this a special case – all these things make we wonder more and more what sort of organisation we’re actually going to be voting on.

    For me, a logical head is now very much on the defensive against a heart that wants to give the EU an almighty bloody nose.

  • Robert King says:

    My comments about the excellence of (and wholehearted support for) the EUYO are contained in another strand. But more widely, as performing musicians, potentially to lose the ease of working in almost every European country without any permit whatsoever being required would be catastrophic for the classical music industry. Look at all the horror stories of musicians from outside the EU being refused permission to enter Britain because the paperwork isn’t right, or hasn’t arrived in time. Talk to any travelling musician or orchestral management about the massive time, cost and energy expended on obtaining visas and work permits for tours to non-EU countries. There can be little no doubt that travelling life would become harder and harder over the coming years if GB leaves the EU, with different entry rules and processes popping up in different countries. (And if we followed the line of “let’s leave because the government is wasteful and inefficient” through to its logical end, I don’t think most of us could live anywhere at all – not that this means we shouldn’t campaign tirelessly to fix the things that are undoubtedly wrong within the EU’s sometimes ludicrous bureaucracy).

    Thousands of us don’t agree with the EUYO funding decision, so many of us are getting in there and, in all our different ways, are campaigning and nagging to fix what we see as a wrong decision. That’s a positive way of getting things changed. In the case of the EUYO, if the groundswell holds, and grows, the missing funding may yet [re-]appear…

    • Anon says:

      Robert, I disagree with this assessment. The UK would still want access to the EU common market; in return for which the UK would almost certainly have to accept a similar free movement of peoples at it currently does. I doubt leaving the EU would change very much in terms of EU visitors to the UK and vice versa.

      • Robert King says:

        Dear Anon (no need to be anon for such a considered and mild comment)

        When we are talking professional musicians, we are not speaking of visitors in or out of the UK: we are talking employment. I believe that employment niggles will appear all over mainland Europe if the UK leaves the EU – and different ones will appear in different countries (incidentally, the Musicians’ Union in a well-reasoned paper has come out in favour of remaining in Europe). The UK, of course, will hope to maintain all the benefits we gained when we paid our EU “club subscription”; but will our former fellow club members really give these benefits away when no subscription is now being paid? Human nature being what it is, if you were to trash your [French, German, Belgian] neighbour’s flower beds, when you next wanted to borrow their spade, would you really expect the same warm welcome that you used to receive? Will gentle European ‘entente cordiale’ really be maintained across two dozen and more nations when we have just divorced all of them, simultaneously? Maybe I am overly pessimistic, and all those nations will still welcome British musicians with open arms, and still pay us performance fees that could instead be going to their own, resident musicians. But might not just a few employment barriers go up? Setting aside much bigger issues, for the sake of the future employment of my fellow musicians, voting “out” is not a risk I’d want to take in the expectation that everything currently advantageous will stay as it does today.

  • Tristan Jakob-Hoff says:

    The Treasury, the IMF, the Bank of England, the OECD and the CBI have all made similar forecasts on the economic impact of Brexit. Chief amongst their concerns are that:

    1) The reduction in foreign direct investment in the UK will be significant;
    2) There will be a long-term negative impact on British GDP, and a sharper immediate impact;
    3) Sterling will take a hit;
    4) Unemployment will rise;
    5) Revenues to the Exchequer will go down, leading to budget cuts.

    There are a few economists, such as Patrick Minford, who believe that GDP can in fact rise post-Brexit, but these forecasts rely heavily on politically infeasible post-Brexit actions, such as unilaterally removing all trade barriers (which would immediately kill off our steel and automotive industries). The overwhelming consensus is that the British economy will be weakened, and frankly it is a self-fulfilling prophecy that when there are more sellers than buyers of something, the value goes down. That goes for markets and economies as much as it goes for goods and services.

    What none of these bodies fail to take into account is the destabilising influence on the EU a Brexit would cause. The Eurozone has taken a battering over the last few years, and the ECB is running out of resources to support it. If Brexit takes place, there will inevitably be questions about how long the centre can hold for. Such a destabilising influence could very likely cause another economic recession across Europe, which – so soon after the last one – could be extremely damaging to the global economy. Again, this is not helped by the fact that central banks are running out of ways to keep interest rates low.

    So now let me ask this: in the context of a weakened economy and lower government spending, coupled with the very real risk of a Europe-wide (and possibly global) recession, how do you think arts organisations will fare? Do you think their funding will go up or down? I certainly know which outcome I think is more likely, and personally I would rather not like to see numerous arts organisations scaled back or shut down altogether because voters used the closure of one of them to justify an incredibly risky act of economic sabotage.

    I love the EUYO and I hope the petitions and activities by Marshall Marcus and co lead to a reversal of this perverse decision. But to “punish” the EU for this would be to punish ourselves, our local arts organisations, and risk other arts organisations across Europe. This is called “cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face”, and it has never been a good policy.

    • Ppellay says:

      While agreeing with all of the above, I’d go further with your final assessment: for the UK, leaving he EU would be case of cutting one’s face off to spite one’s nose!

    • Mervyn James says:

      You fogot, the UK leaving the EU is support for IS (UK’s premier Cameron recent statement!), personally I cannot wait to see the back of Brussels.

      • Tristan Jakob-Hoff says:

        You do realise that Brussels will not actually cease to exist if we decide to leave the EU, right? The EU will still be our biggest trading partner, and we will be bound by most of their regulations as a result. We just won’t have any influence over them.

  • David Osborne says:

    I’m a UK Australian dual citizen, resident in Berlin. Should you be silly enough to vote for Brexit, I will be on my way to England in need of a new home. Reason enough I assure you to vote Remain!