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A new policy paper calls for continued freedom of movement, and claims music helps promote the values that unite Europeans, such as equality.

Photo of musician

Membership organisations across Europe have come together to defend music as a human right and call for free movement of artists, professionals and non-professionals across the continent.

A new policy document – the European Agenda for Music (EAM) – stresses that music plays an important societal role around identity and inclusion, and recognises music’s “important” contribution to the economy.

Coordinated by membership organisation the European Music Council (EMC), the agenda applies to all European countries, including those outside of the European Union, and makes recommendations across themes including technology, education, diversity and data.

“We hope the European Commission picks up some of the suggestions, which are broken down into priority areas and areas of potential action,” EMC President Ian Smith told AP.

“The agenda is meant as a positive statement of fact, and to lay out areas of the music sector that are strong – and areas for consideration.”


The EAM is the result of consultation across seven working groups, each chaired by specialists in their field.

It calls for quality music education in schools, through sufficient and sustainable funding, and suggests providing lifelong training for music teachers and trainers in all areas of the music sector.

It also calls for better protection of intellectual property across borders, and for people involved in music to use technology to foster innovation in teaching, learning and distribution.

To ensure audiences, genres, funding opportunities and creators remain as diverse as possible, it makes the case for continued free movement of artists, noting mobility within Europe and beyond “is at the heart of the European music sector, keeping it healthy and strong through the circulation of ideas, skills, persons, works and products”.

“Sadly mobility throughout Europe is not what it once was,” Smith continued. “Freedom of expression and freedom of movement are key.”

The agenda also recommends the harmonisation of administrative and data collection processes across Europe – a set of priorities that clash with the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

Free movement

Sector bodies in the UK have been equally vocal in their support for free movement. A joint campaign between a-n and the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), #FreeMoveCreate, calls for continued freedom of movement for anyone working in the creative industries post-Brexit.

Speaking during its launch last year, ISM Chief Executive Deborah Annetts said its members travel to Europe upwards of 26 times a year, and some artists are there for 60 days at a time.

EMC said its membership includes countries in organisations such as Russia, Ukraine, Norway and Switzerland, and that Brexit “will not influence our relationship with organisations in the UK”.