Brussels, 15th June 2021,

IMPALA, along with 107 other EU and US based cultural and creative organisations, have asked the EU and US to address visa issues during the EU-US Summit taking place in Brussels today. A letter was sent ahead of the summit seeking action to improve visa relations for artists and other cultural workers. 

You can find the letter below and a pdf version is also available here.

EU-US summit 2021 on 15 June 2021

To the attention of :

Charles Michel – President of the European Council and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

Joe Biden, President of the US

Call to support the cultural relations

As EU and US leaders will meet in June, more than 100 organisations from across Europe’s and America’s cultural and creative sectors are uniting their voices to call for attention to the EU-US cultural relations, of particular importance to recover from the Corona crisis.

The EU and the US are highly important export markets for culture. Cultural services accounted for 5,961.5 bln € of export to US in 2019 and for 2,575.1 of import in the EU(1).

The Corona-crisis has hit both trade partners severely. Concerts, performances and events stood still for more than a year, with no travelling and touring in either direction. According to a study(2) conducted by EY on the impact of the pandemic the music and performing arts sector in Europe were hit worst with 70% and 90% less turnover in 2020. It is expected that only towards the end of 2021 this will slowly resume, with severe consequences on the live events business between the US and the EU.

The cultural community needs a strong political signal which gives hope and prospect.

But the strongest obstacles to make this happen are the difficulties that artists, crew and cultural professionals encounter which relate to cumbersome and costly visa processing when travelling to the USA for the purpose of work and the great variety of conditions US artists face to obtain work permits in the different countries of the EU. Reducing the obstacles to visas and work permits is therefore an essential instrument to bring hope, future and a new start of cultural exchange between the two continents. Toward this ends, experts in the EU and US would be glad to jointly prepare recommendations, and we welcome the chance to provide you with these recommendations.

Whilst the US and EU can be proud of a thriving cultural exchange, we, the artist communities on both sides of the Atlantic call upon you for a solution-oriented approach as regards artist mobility. Artist mobility produces a backbone of additional trade (flights, hotels, catering, hire of local services, road haulage, local taxes, etcetera) and thus generate income for many other side industries.

Reducing the obstacles to visas and work permits is therefore an essential instrument to bring hope, future and a new start of cultural exchange between the two continents.


We thank you for your attention.

On behalf of the following signatories:

1 2Luck Concepts

2 5000 LTD

3 A2IM – American Association of Independent Music

4 Aakash Odedra Company



7 AFEM – Association For Electronic Music

8 AK Foundation for Dance Inc.

9 Akram Khan Company

10 alba KULTUR – Office for Global Music

11 Arena Resilience Alliance

12 Arts Midwest

13 Association Européenne des Conservatoires, Académie de Musique

14 Association of Commercial Television in Europe

15 Association of Performing Arts Professionals

16 BBK – Bundesverband Bildender Künstlerinnen und Künstler

17 Between the Seas: Mediterranean Performing Arts

18 CEC ArtsLink

19 Centre Européen de Musique

20 Circostrada Network

21 Culture Action Europe

22 Dance Managers Collective

23 Dance/USA


25 Dutch Music Export

26 EDN – European Dancehouse Network

27 EJN – Europe Jazz Network


28 ELIA – globally connected European network for higher arts education

29 Elsie management


31 Erwin Maas – Artists’ manager

32 ESNS Eurosonic Noorderslag

33 Europa Distribution – The European Network of Independent Film Publishers and Distributors

34 European Circus Association

35 European Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (ECCD)

36 European Cultural Foundation

37 European Federation of National Youth Orchestras (EFNYO)

38 European Festivals Association

39 European Games Developer Federation (EGDF)

40 European Music Council

41 European Music Exporters Exchange – EMEE

42 European Music Managers Alliance (EMMA)

43 European Orchestra Federation EOFed

44 European Publishers Council

45 European Theatre Convention

46 FACE Foundation

47 FEDEC – European federation of professional circus schools


49 Federation for European Storytelling

50 Feld Entertainment, Inc.

51 female:pressure

52 Folk Alliance International

53 German Centre of the International Theatre Institute

54 gigmit

55 globalFEST

56 HowlRound Theatre Commons

57 IAO (International Artist Organisation)

58 ICMP -The International Confederation of Music Publishers

59 IETM – International network for contemporary performing arts

60 IFPI representing the recording industry worldwide

61 IMPALA – Independent Music Companies Association

62 IMPF (Independent Music Publishers International Forum)

63 IN SITU – European Platform for Artistic Creation in Public Space

64 Innovation Network of European Showcases (INES)

65 International Music Council

66 International Music Managers Forum

67 Internationale Gesellschaft der Bildenden Künste (IGBK) (German NC of International Association of Art IAA)

68 JM International

69 League of American Orchestras

70 Literature Across Frontiers

71 Live DMA – European network for live music venues, clubs and festivals

72 liveurope

73 Martin E. Segal Theatre Centre, The CUNY Graduate Center

74 Martinez Arts Consulting, ALC

75 MobiCulture

76 More Europe – external cultural relations

77 Musikhochschulen

78 NAMM – National Association of Music Merchants


80 National Performance Network

81 New Music USA

82 New York City Center

83 National Independent Venue Association (NIVA)

84 On the Move

85 Opera Europa

86 OPERA America

87 Pearle*-Live Performance Europe

88 PEN America


90 Production Services Association

91 REMA – Early Music in Europe

92 Res Artis

93 Roberto Cimetta Fund

94 Rosie Kay Dance Company

95 Sistema Europe

96 Skye Blue Productions

97 SOS – Save Our Spectrum

98 Taklit

99 Tamizdat Inc

100 Theatre Without Borders

101 Theatre Communications Group

102 The Arts and Theatre Institute, Czech Republic

103 ENCC – The European Network of Cultural Centres

104 The Green Room

105 The Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica (SPAH)

106 Trans Europe Halles

107 Western Arts Alliance


108 Yourope – The European Festival Association


(1) Eurostat : international trade in services – personal, cultural and recreational services (year 2019)

(2) EY Ernst&Young https://www.rebuilding-europe.eu/

IMPALA – Independent Music Companies Association

Rue des Deux Eglises 37-39, 1000, Brussels, BELGIUM

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