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EU visa fee hike ‘would hurt European touring’

Live industry body Pearle* says proposals to increase the price of the common EU visa by 33% would add to the "already substantial costs for touring groups"

By Jon Chapple on 14 Mar 2018

EU visa

image © Marco Bono

Industry association Pearle* has warned that plans to increase the cost of short-stay visas for the EU by a third would negatively affect the “already vulnerable financial situation” of the European live entertainment sector.

Pearle* (Performing Arts Employers Associations League Europe), which represents more than 7,000 live music and performing arts organisations across Europe, issued the warning today in response to the unveiling of plans for a new common EU visa policy by the European Commission.

While Pearle* largely welcomes the commission’s recommendations – which, among other things, would reduce the window for visa decisions from 15 to ten days, allow longer validity for multiple-entry visas and enable EU member states to issue temporary short-term visas directly at their borders – saying a “harmonised approach” towards visas is a “step in the right direction”, it “deplores” proposals to increase the visa fee from €60 to €80 (+33.3%), as the cost would fall on event promoters/organisers.

Commenting on the good news, Anita Debaere, director of Pearle*, says: “Europe is renowned for its great offering and access to culture, but artists increasingly experience difficulties coming to Europe for performances because of visa issues. It’s a waste of time, effort and investment for both the host and artists – and what a disappointment for the audience if an excellent artist can’t perform in Europe because of visa issues.”

“Artists increasingly experience difficulties coming to Europe for live performances”

On the proposed hike in costs, meanwhile, the association “calls upon the co-legislators [the European parliament and Council] to foresee an exemption in the case of visa applications by touring groups and maintain the initial fee of €60 in such cases.

“When the visa fee becomes a third more expensive it comes on top of the already substantial costs for touring groups – for example, an orchestra with 100 musicians, or a circus group with 80 artists and touring staff – including the travel, accommodation, subsistence costs, artists fees, promotional costs, technical costs and more.”

The European Commission contends, however, that even at €80 an EU visa would be priced “relatively low by international standards”, especially as compared to the United States, where a tourist visa is $160 (€133) – and a working visa is priced far higher, beginning at $460.


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