United Kingdom

Sir Elton John requests urgent meeting with new Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries over visa rules

Sir Elton John has requested an urgent meeting with new Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries over post-Brexit rules which have hit the ability of musicians to tour the EU.

The rock singer is lobbying for the relaxation of rules which came into force at the beginning of 2021 which do not guarantee visa-free travel for musicians in the bloc, arguing that it is having a serious impact on young artists trying to build a career.

Sir Elton held Zoom meetings with Ms Dorries's predecessor Oliver Dowden and EU Relations Minister Lord Frost to discuss the issue of visa-free touring, but said he was dissatisfied with the assurances.

The rock singer is lobbying for the relaxation of rules which came into force at the beginning of 2021 which do not guarantee visa-free travel for musicians in the bloc, arguing that it is having a serious impact on young artists trying to build a career

Officials at Ms Dorries's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have said they negotiated with 19 EU countries to allow British musicians and performers to conduct short tours without the need for a visa.

Last night Sir Elton, 74, told The Mail on Sunday: 'Although there was some understanding as to the plight young musicians are facing from the previous incumbents in the DCMS, in reality very little was achieved in solving this colossal issue. I'm looking forward to discussing this with Nadine Dorries, and seeing what she will do to save the future of our world-beating £111 billion industry.'

Sir Elton, who recently rescheduled the 2021 dates for his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour to 2023 after suffering a hip injury that requires an operation, has told fans that the visa rules are stopping young talent from emulating the start of his career – travelling to Germany aged 17 to 'get a taste of what travelling abroad was like and different cultures'.

Sir Elton John has requested an urgent meeting with new Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries (pictured) over post-Brexit rules which have hit the ability of musicians to tour the EU

He said: 'And it's so imperative for young artists to have that opportunity to do that. It makes them grow as songwriters, as artists and as human beings.'

A Government spokesman said: 'The duration of visa and work permit-free touring varies from member state to member state, and for many including France and Germany it is for up to 3 months. We are working with member states to ensure they have in place clear guidance.'

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