Musicians Union on Brexit: ‘This will be very bad news for musicians’

Musicians Union on Brexit: ‘This will be very bad news for musicians’


norman lebrecht

July 04, 2016

Statement by John Smith, General Secretary of the MU:

‘We suspect that this will be very bad news for musicians. Over the years MU members have benefited from open borders, a protective copyright regime and various directives which directly benefit them in their workplaces. We will no longer be able to jointly campaign with our former EU colleagues, nor will we be able to take part in the EU social dialogue committees on live performance and audio-visual. We must prepare for the introduction of border controls with the possibility of work permits and/or travel visas for musicians working in Europe. My initial reaction is one of profound depression, we will certainly have to be vigilant over the next crucial few months.’



The MU website adds:

‘We would like to reassure all MU members that we will continue to monitor this fast moving situation and that we will release further statements as information becomes available. It is important to remember that negotiations to leave the EU are going to be long and protracted and there should therefore be no immediate change in conditions or travel for musicians. We will ensure that we continue to represent our members’ interests every step of the way. If you have any immediate concerns, please get in touch.’




  • Dave says:

    Mr. John Smith has assumed the worst case scenario for everything before a single thing has occured. Good God!

  • John G. Deacon says:

    Why, I beg, is such piffle allowed to appear on this blog when nobody has any idea at all if this is true or not ? It’s not clever of people to write this stuff as there’s no other purpose than to frighten people and it serves no other purpose. What did musicians do before 1972 ?

    Brexit is gonna be alright. We had to quit this undemocratic and corrupt economic dead-zone that is the EU.

  • Dave says:

    There is a certain segment of the UK population that have benefited from sucking at the EU teet. They obviously wish this to continue. My parents had a saying, ‘Suck it up.’ The exit will take place. Time to move on.

    • Alistair Hinton says:

      The exit probably will take place, sadly but it ain’t over until the fat lady sings By-bye Bruxelles – and thet fat lady concerned in this instance is the UK Parliament which has yet to schedule and hold a debate followed by a vote on this issue; only once it has done so can Article 50 either be invoked or not and only once it has been invoked (if it is so) can Brexit begin to proceed.

      Whilst I sympathise with Mr Smith, I agree that his remarks are premature, just as is the assumption that Brexit is an absolute certainty.

  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    If there’s one thing of which there’s no shortage in the UK, it’s excellent musicians. How ever did we cope before 1973? For working abroad, there may now be visa requirements. A bit of extra paperwork, nothing more.

    • Step Parikian says:

      I am currently doing “a bit of extra paperwork” for an orchestral trip outside the EU. Please do come and help. Oh, it would also be nice if you could pay the £1,000 it is going to cost – thanks.

      • Theodore McGuiver says:

        If this country is outside the EU at the moment and the UK, as far as I know, still being in, I’m not sure what your point is. Had this extra cost been due to the UK already being outside the EU, I might have understood.

        • Step Parikian says:

          My point is that visa applications for a group are a lengthy and not-inexpensive process. To refer to it as a bit of extra paperwork shows a lack of understanding of what is involved. To have to go through the process every time a UK orchestra visits EU countries will cost time and money.
          Is that clear enough?

          • Theodore McGuiver says:

            You’re complaining about the paperwork involved in organising a tour of an EU orchestra outside the EU. Who’s to say organising the same tour between two non-EU countries will be difficult? As for touring in the EU, how do you know future measures will be punitive and restrictive? No-one knows what’s going to be involved but there’s too much at stake financially for both sides for any New European Order to diverge strongly from the status quo.

          • Dave says:

            Would you like some cheese with that ‘whine?’

  • Robert Holmén says:

    Absurd nationalism has been the ruin of Europe several times over.

    Here you go again. You never will learn.