Ed Sheeran, Elton John, Sting Say Brexit Deal ‘Shamefully Failed’ Them

Music stars, including Elton John, Sting, Bob Geldof and Ed Sheeran, said on Wednesday (Jan. 20) that the U.K. government “shamefully failed” creatives with its post-Brexit trade deal and urged it to reach an agreement with the European Union to ensure visa- and bureaucracy-free tours. They highlighted that the trade pact, unveiled at Christmas, leads to “extra costs” and work that would “make many tours unviable, especially for young emerging musicians who are already struggling to keep their heads above water owing to the COVID ban on live music.”

Instead, they called for “paperwork-free travel in Europe for British artists and their equipment.” One key concern is that under the trade pact touring musicians and their teams need separate visas for each of the 27 EU member states. More than 100 well-known music personalities signed the open letter, organized by the Incorporated Society of Musicians and published in The Times. “British musicians, dancers, actors and their support staff have been shamefully failed by their government,” it said.

“The deal done with the EU has a gaping hole where the promised free movement for musicians should be.” Representatives of the U.K. and the European Union have played the blame game about why such an arrangement wasn’t reached in the trade deal. U.K. Minister of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Caroline Dinenage had told a parliamentary committee that the EU had made a “very broad” offer that “would not have been compatible” with the promise of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s conservative government to “take back control of our borders.”

This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.