Pwyllgor Diwylliant, Cyfathrebu, y Gymraeg, Chwaraeon, a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol

Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport, and International Relations Committee


Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Alun Davies
Delyth Jewell Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair
Hefin David
Llyr Gruffydd
Tom Giffard

Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol

Others in Attendance

Dr Charlotte Faucher Prifysgol Bryste
University of Bristol
Laurence Farreng MEP Senedd Ewrop
European Parliament
Yr Athro Catherine Barnard Prifysgol Caergrawnt
University of Cambridge

Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol

Senedd Officials in Attendance

Haidee James Ail Glerc
Second Clerk
Lleu Williams Clerc
Sara Moran Ymchwilydd
Tanwen Summers Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk

Lle siaredir Cymraeg neu Saesneg, cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y siaradwyd hwy yn y pwyllgor, gyda thrawsgrifiad o'r cyfieithu ar y pryd o'r Gymraeg i'r Saesneg. Lle siaredir Ffrangeg, dim ond trawsgrifiad o'r cyfieithu ar y pryd yn Saesneg sy'n cael ei gynnwys. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.

Where Welsh or English is spoken, the proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee, with a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation from Welsh to English. Where French is spoken, only the transcription of the simultaneous interpretation in English is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.

Cyfarfu’r pwyllgor yn y Senedd a thrwy gynhadledd fideo.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:32.

The committee met in the Senedd and by video-conference.

The meeting began at 09:32.

1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau
1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest

Bore da. Hoffwn i groesawu'r Aelodau i'r cyfarfod hwn o'r Pwyllgor Diwylliant, Cyfathrebu, y Gymraeg, Chwaraeon a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol. Mae yna newid wedi bod i drefn agenda'r cyfarfod yr wythnos hon er mwyn hwyluso argaeledd ein tyst cyntaf y bore yma, sy'n golygu y byddwn yn dechrau'n gyhoeddus ar eitemau 2 a 3. Mae ymddiheuriadau wedi dod i law gan Carolyn Thomas. Oes gan unrhyw Aelodau fuddiannau i'w datgan? Dwi ddim yn gweld bod.  

Good morning. I would like to welcome Members to this meeting of the Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport and International Relations Committee. There has been a change to the order of this week's meeting agenda to accommodate our first witness's availability this morning, which means that we will now begin in public for items 2 and 3. We have received apologies from Carolyn Thomas this morning. Do Members have any declarations of interest to make? I don't see that there are any. 

2. Diwylliant a'r berthynas newydd â’r Undeb Ewropeaidd: Sesiwn dystiolaeth gydag Aelod o Bwyllgor Senedd Ewrop ar Ddiwylliant ac Addysg (6)
2. Culture and the new relationship with the European Union: Evidence session with Member of the European Parliament Committee on Culture and Education (6)

Gwnawn ni symud yn syth at eitem 2, diwylliant a'r berthynas newydd â’r Undeb Ewropeaidd, sesiwn dystiolaeth gydag Aelod o Bwyllgor Senedd Ewrop ar Ddiwylliant ac Addysg. Dwi nawr yn symud at groesawu ein tyst.

We'll move straight on to item 2, culture and the new relationship with the European Union. This is an evidence session with a Member of the European Parliament Committee on Culture and Education. I now move to welcome our witness.

[Translation.] Good morning, Laurence. Welcome to our committee. Would you like to make an opening statement?

[Translation.] Good morning, everyone. I will be speaking in French and I think you have the English interpretation. I am in the European Parliament in Strasbourg for current sessions. I'm particularly happy to be having this discussion with you today, because the issue of the participation of the United Kingdom in the European Union is particularly important since Brexit. In the culture, education and youth commission, of course, we can see a big lack that you are not with us anymore. So, any links that we can nurture and strengthen and any parliamentary work that you are carrying out to understand the impact of Brexit on the cultural sector is very valuable. Therefore, I would like to thank you for inviting me and I am delighted to be here with you.

[Translation.] Just to say a bit about my presentation and to introduce myself, I am a French MEP of the presidency party and I have been since 2019. My main commission is the culture, education and youth commission. I am a co-ordinator of this commission as part of Renew Europe, and I co-ordinate the European cultural policies. In this regard, I have been in charge of the legislation opinion of the culture committee on the evaluation report of the trade and co-operation agreement.


[Translation.] Thank you for that. We now move to Alun for some questions. 

Thank you very much. I'm grateful to you for joining us this morning and helping us with this investigation. We are concerned with understanding the impact of Brexit on the culture sector. We're looking specifically at Wales, but also, of course, the wider impacts and if there are impacts within mainland Europe from what has happened. I was wondering if you could outline your view of how Brexit has affected the cultural sector.

[Translation.] Well, these are the people left behind by the trade and co-operation agreement, because the word 'culture' is not part of this agreement. That shows that this is a no-deal Brexit for artists and cultural sectors. But I think that what's interesting and what's of note is that 96 per cent of them were opposed to Brexit during the referendum. They are very vulnerable to the unjust and unfair consequences of a situation they did not choose. This is a particular situation, because they were contributing highly. Of course, the creative and cultural sectors in the United Kingdom are important. They have major contributions. One out of 11 jobs are linked to it in the UK, and you have some of the major artists. Of course, there are many sectors, but we can see that this loss of the cultural sector coming from the UK is major. We are talking about singers, actors, cinema professionals. This is part of your soft power. Of course, the EU was a beneficiary of this.

[Translation.] I have a few things to add to this. At the EU level, we need to recontextualise the European cultural policy. What it says in the treaties is that the EU must contribute to promoting cultural diversity and linguistic pluralism. There's a notion of diversity that is particularly important, and we have lost it, of course, with your exit from the EU. The cultural policies are not the majority policies in the EU, but we have a very efficient programme, which is Creative Europe. Creative Europe is helping this sector, and the UK is not part of it any longer. It is a full exit from it. British creators and artists were parts of many co-production projects, and 10 per cent of the projects were allocated to British actors in this cultural sector. It is a loss for you and for the EU, because all of the actors that I have met have told me how sad they were and how little understanding they have of the situation.

[Translation.] I would like to add one point. There is one particular sector where the UK is still linked to the EU, and this is audiovisual production. We have a directive called the audiovisual media service directive. I think that it would be interesting for you to read about it and refer to it, because this directive has a major impact on the representation of AV work on American platforms such as Netflix, Amazon, et cetera. This allowed two things: a minimum quota of European work and also funding possibilities. The UK is still part of this framework, and within this directive there is a definition of European AV work. This refers to a Council of Europe definition, which the UK is a part of. So, this is the only link—however, an important link—through which you are still linked to the EU. And this is part of the debate within the European Union, because we could say, 'Well, British people have left the EU, however they are still beneficiaries of this directive.' So, the work is considered European work. This is a very good thing. However, this is certainly badly perceived by some of the European cultural sectors. In the AV production sector, particularly, there are habits, and long-term habits, with American producers. So, the definition is somewhat blurry. So, this directive will be reviewed in the next mandate, in 2024-2029, and I think there will be debates that should be closely followed by yourselves.

[Translation.] So, if I were to summarise, nothing in the trade and co-operation agreement refers to culture. The second point is the fact that the UK has exited Creative Europe, but there is one last link that still persists through the audio visual media services directive.


I'm grateful to you for that. That was very useful. In terms of the directive, you say it's going to be reviewed in the next mandate, so I presume it's too early to ask you whether you believe the 1993 exemption for the UK will be maintained in it. I can understand there may be pressures within European production not to continue to include the UK content as European content, so it would be useful to understand, perhaps, where you think the debate is going on that.

And how do you see us? I probably agree with you: I think Brexit was one of the greatest peace-time disasters to befall the United Kingdom, so, perhaps you could outline to us how you believe we can start to rebuild the relationship that we've enjoyed as part of a common European civilisation.

[Translation.] Many thanks. I will come back to the AV part first of all. Honestly, I think there will be a great debate about the definition. However, it's quite likely that the UK will still be included in the European definition, because, within this definition, I think there are 43 or 47 countries, so many more than just the European Union. And there are countries such as Turkey, Serbia and neighbouring countries, with which we are exchanging, possible future membership to the EU—Ukraine is another one that's very important.

[Translation.] So, these cultural co-operations, through AV, are still important. This co-operation represents cultural links with neighbouring states and states that could be members of the EU in the future. And they are states where freedom of expression is not always guaranteed. And through being able to benefit from European productions, this helps democracy—they give perspectives and prospects to artists that are not always heard in their own countries.

[Translation.] As far as the UK is concerned, we had a lot of passion at the moment when the UK exited the EU, but, since then, in the following months, with the new context of the war in Ukraine, we have noticed that the discourse has changed. There is your Prime Minister, a change, there are new discourses and new discussions focusing on fundamental things, such as the European continent's security, faced with new aggressions, and there are new programmes, for example, a very important one, which is Horizon Europe. You probably know about it, and this focuses on innovation. All of this means that the environment, the ecosystem, currently is not the same as it was when Michel Barnier negotiated the trade and co-operation agreement. 

[Translation.] So, the international world situation is very serious, and this means that we had to adapt the way we envisage collaboration, for example on defence and the security of our continent. And this goes hand in hand with programmes such as Horizon Europe, which focuses on innovation. But I'm hearing a few things about Erasmus also. It's not quite clear yet. This is a minority programme within the sector of culture, but this will nonetheless not be forgotten. 

[Translation.] And as you are asking, 'Well, how can we reignite links with the British cultural sector?', well, the link does exist—not at a political level, no, but at the level of the actors themselves. So, with cultural workers, between Europe and the UK, these links are very strong and numerous. The difficulty we faced was mobility and exchanges. Indeed, the closing down of borders created many problems for artists' mobility in both directions. This had a real impact on the way we used to build our relationships and our partnerships.

[Translation.] I'm sorry, I'm going back to my notes. I've got some more precise and accurate information to share with you. So, what did I want to tell you about this? Indeed, what we were faced with were administrative burdens for our EU artists and, exactly in the same way, for British artists, because the costs and visa administration are very heavy. The visa and travel requirements are stringent. Ninety days is the limit, which means that, during touring, artists must come back to their country to then rejoin the tour, which means that some of the less structured artists, the new, emerging artists, are finding this administration particularly stringent and difficult to overcome. 

[Translation.] There is another topic about taxes on merchandising, because the performing arts is fed by merchandising sales also. And this created a real problem for our festivals and our concert halls in Europe. It is now very difficult to book British artists and, as we said, new, independent artists are particularly vulnerable. And there is also an impact on the audience at large, because you have very popular recognised artists, and we don't really have as much access to them any longer. And the trend seems to be the same on the UK side. The number of European artists has halved since Brexit. This is a huge loss, which is beyond the return on investment. This is a great loss to cultural exchanges for the EU and for the UK. 

[Translation.] So, I broadened the question somewhat, but the political context is evolving, which means that our relationships are also evolving. The cultural sector is faced with real administrative and heavy burdens. However, we want to renew the links in the future.


Thank you, and thank you very much, Laurence, for coming here today to speak with us. Obviously, we've heard the negativity, I guess, from your perspective, in terms of what the cultural sector in the UK is looking like post Brexit, but the creative industries here in the UK are growing at 1.5 times the rate of the wider economy, employment in this industry is five times the rate of the rest of the economy, there's a greater proportion of people in the UK working in the sector than anywhere in the EU, except Sweden—and that includes France. It's booming, isn't it, here in the UK.


Excuse me just a moment because I have a problem with the translation.

[Translation.] Well, first of all, I am delighted at this wonderful news. This is not really what I heard when I met artists. Beyond the economic level, they were very much disturbed because of this break with the EU, and this comes back to something that I mentioned previously. So, the cultural industries of the UK focus on these sectors. We have the EU, the continental side, we have the European cultural sphere, and, on the other side, we have links that exist with the US. And I think that your main producers, your pop singers, your major artists, must be focused on the US, which is great, because this gives you a lot of vitality. However, culture is not just about money; the links are long-lasting links. We have various relationships.

[Translation.] So, to come back to your question, these are my first feelings. So, maybe, as you said, Brexit did not have an economic impact and maybe you developed elsewhere. This is not what I heard when I met with artists. But the cultural world is very diverse, and, again, we have major artists, independent artists. There are many different aspects to bear in mind. But we need to maybe focus on what are we talking about, and maybe some of the main structures are developing more towards the USA. There are many prospects. And this is part of the debate that I mentioned—this is what I said—to be seen as a European producer when we work with the USA.

[Translation.] There is also, on the other side, a more emerging sector and independent sector, which had a lot to lose after Brexit, and this is what I measured and I noticed. So, in London, I met Sir Howard Goodall, who is one of the representatives of Carry On Touring, and I managed to talk to him about the difficulties faced by British artists regarding visas, lost opportunities, and especially opera artists, who are in a very complex situation because there are not enough operas in the UK to help them all thrive and it is a lot more complicated for them to work in European opera halls. This is the rule of the 90 days out of 180 they have to come back home, and therefore they can be replaced by Europeans or other people coming from all parts of the world. There are many things to the impact. There is an economic impact, there are figures, of course, but there are also people's careers. I don't necessarily share your analysis.

Thank you. And I don't totally disagree with you that there is more to the creative sector than just the economics of it. I accept that point. However, the economics are pretty clear. And you talk about people in the European Union having roles that would previously have gone to people from the UK going to people who have European passports. Well, the evidence doesn't bear that out. As I said earlier, employment in that industry is five times the rate of the rest of the economy, and that's the rate it is growing at at the moment. So, I'm not sure I totally accept the point that you're making there. We had a budget here in the UK last week that the theatre, film and music sector called 'game-changing', because of the tax breaks that we were able to afford to the cultural sector that wouldn't have been possible inside the European Union. So, is the picture perhaps a bit more nuanced than perhaps you initially indicated?


Excuse me—I'll take a moment to check I understood you well, with my team.

[Translation.] Yes, I do apologise; this is a bit more of a technical issue, which I'm not as familiar with. Some measures were taken to help artists during COVID with tax breaks, which greatly helped the sector, but this is not part of the European politics—this is a national issue.

Just for clarity—I won't come back on a further point—the tax breaks I was referring to were announced in last week's budget and don't relate to COVID. But that's fine. Just for a point of clarity. No further questions.

Diolch yn fawr, Gadeirydd. Diolch ichi am eich tystiolaeth. Dwi yn teimlo bod mwy o werth i ddiwylliant, fel rŷch chi'n dweud, na gwerth economaidd yn unig, ac mae bod yn ddiwylliannol regressive yn dod â chostau gwahanol mewn cyd-destunau gwahanol hefyd, ond efallai na wnaf fynd ar ôl y drafodaeth yna.

Mae'r adroddiad gan y pwyllgor diwylliant yn cyfeirio at y ffaith bod yna lai o artistiaid o'r Undeb Ewropeaidd yn teithio yn y Deyrnas Unedig ar ôl Brexit. Byddai'n dda gwybod pa ddata sydd gyda chi ar hynny, oherwydd rŷn ni'n derbyn lot o dystiolaeth anecdotaidd ond yn ei ffeindio hi'n anodd rhoi ein bys ar ddata caled neu gymharol galed ar y ffigurau yma. Felly, dwi ddim yn gwybod a allwch chi jest ehangu ychydig ynglŷn ag ar ba sail mae'r datganiad yna yn cael ei wneud.

Thank you very much, Chair. Thank you for your evidence. I do feel that there is greater value to culture than just the economic value, and being culturally regressive brings other costs in other contexts too, but I perhaps won't pursue that discussion.

The report by the culture committee refers to the fact that there are fewer artists from the European Union touring in the UK following Brexit. It would be good to know what data you have on that, because we receive a great deal of anecdotal evidence on this, but we find it difficult to find that hard data on these figures. So, I don't know whether you could shed some light on that statement that you made.

[Translation.] Many thanks for your question and introduction. We both understand the same thing when we talk about culture, what it is and what it isn't. Well, regrettably, and that was a huge difficulty when I was working on that report—unfortunately it's very difficult to find general data that applies to the whole of the EU. I've had feedback from concert halls, for example, who tell me, and they're just telling me, but they're saying, 'We have 50 per cent fewer UK artists since Brexit', but as far as I know, there is no European-level data, and when I asked actors in the sector, they weren't able to provide me with anything. This is where the difficulty lies. This is political. We don't have any real hard data, which means that it is very difficult to assess the real impact through data. We'd have to have inquiries and investigations on a per-concert-hall basis, and we should have some kind of control or auditing. This is what I can tell you, that some of the feedback that was passed on to me—that's what it was.

Diolch, ac mae hynny'n gyson gyda'r dystiolaeth rŷn ni wedi'i gael. Dwi ddim yn cwestiynu'r honiad, ond mae e yn drafferth i ni, rwy'n credu, roi bys ar ffigurau penodol.

Allaf i ofyn hefyd, yng nghwrs y gwaith o baratoi adroddiad y pwyllgor, ym mha ffordd wnaethoch chi gynnwys artistiaid a gweithwyr creadigol yn y gwaith yna?

Thank you, and that's consistent with the evidence that we have received. I don't question your stance, but it is difficult to access those specific figures, isn't it?

May I ask as well, when you compiled the committee report, how did you include creative workers and artists in that process?

Excuse me.

[Translation.] Sorry, I'm just getting the right information. I do apologise; this is taking me a few seconds.


[Translation.] So, regarding the work that was carried out on this work, me and my team were in touch with many representatives of the cultural sector, be it in the UK or throughout the EU. It is very important to have feedback from the people who are faced directly with the effects of Brexit. For example, we met the co-ordinator of Liveurope, which gathers 22 concert halls. They fund and they share emerging artists, new artists. We also met with IMPALA, which is an association representing independent companies and artists in Europe. I met Howard Goodall, who represents the Carry on Touring movement.

[Translation.] On this basis, I did manage to carry out this report. Moreover—. I do apologise. The culture committee had a mission in Edinburgh in Scotland to meet some actors in the sector. You can't see her, but next to me is our political adviser who was there during this assignment. [Interruption.] Who is this? We will check the name of the organisations that we met with; we'll share them with you. I wasn't there, but our political adviser did that very well on my behalf, and we'll be able to share this information with you at a later stage. 

Merci beaucoup. In terms of any support that you think that would be felt in the EU for the UK to participate in more EU programmes, do you see—? Is there an appetite, do you think, from the EU side for that to happen?

[Translation.] This is at the heart of the topic when we talk about future relationships with the UK. I gave you some of the important examples. Horizon Europe is a typical example. This is linked to sovereignty issues—European sovereignty—not at a political level, but on a geographical level, and this is focused on innovation. Today the European Commission leaves the door open to any kind of association with the UK, on the condition that they are not à la carte associations. The point is not to pick and to cherry-pick what we want. This is something that we are absolutely opposed to. We saw that it was possible, with Horizon Europe's feedback, and we heard that it would be the case in the future with Erasmus also. I don't want to talk about Erasmus here, but a large part of my report was focused on Erasmus. 

[Translation.] Today Turing UK is a unilateral programme. There is no exchange any longer. And we hope that, through Creative Europe, and through Erasmus, we'll have positive outcomes. 

[Translation.] The European Parliament wrote several texts, and this shows our openness regarding these topics. 

Merci. You referred earlier to artists and those working in the creative industries as the people left behind. What do you think would be the best way of resolving, not just that but all of the problems that have been rehearsed this morning?

[Translation.] This is a topic for yourselves, I would say, nationally. You need politics, and the British political representatives must recognise the negative impacts of Brexit. And we all need to come around the table; reinforced co-operation is good for both sides. Reciprocity of our exchanges must be at the heart of this, and if we are proposing facilitating requirements for visas, the British Government must do the same. That's just an example. 


Merci. In terms of implementing the TCA review, what opportunities do you think that implementing that would present, and has the European Parliament received a response from the European Commission yet to its report on the implementation of the TCA?

[Translation.] We have not received a response, however I think they're working on it. I heard that this response would focus on Erasmus. This was the main issue in our parliamentary work. So, we'll focus on Erasmus and on university exchanges. To date, unfortunately, nothing is focusing on culture. Thank you.

Okay. Merci. As you've set out, a number of the issues and how we can resolve them—obviously there is an onus on the UK side to find these solutions, but what do you think that our committee can learn, from your experience?

[Translation.] Well, I think this is a recurring question. We're wondering what is our joint history, what is a joint history that we can now write for the future. The sovereign choice of the British people was to leave the EU, through Brexit. Now, there are links that go beyond this breakage, and culture is very much at the heart of this. The question is how can we rebuild co-operation in the future. I think that, for the AV sector, some things are being done quite naturally because we have a framework, however we need to go further with live shows, performing arts and music. The music sector is so important. Exchanges in the music sector are so important that it would be to our benefit to construct and build and strengthen co-operation. Anything that hinders mobility is key. I'm absolutely in favour of exchanges, and this is something that we should wish for. We have partnership programmes with third countries also. I'm asking Joanna—. You can't see her, but I'm asking Joanna for help.

[Translation.] Yes, of course, as we say, soft power is important and everything starts with culture. Culture is at the heart of everything, and it is for us to put it at the heart of any links that we will have in the future. 

[Translation.] So, this is a story that we are writing daily. Since Brexit, which was a very harsh, very difficult moment—. Well, the TCA negotiations, the exit of our British colleagues from the European Parliament, and anything that appeared at an international level—. We do accept the sovereign choice of the British people, but I think that we still have many topics to work on, and I think culture is a very good topic to work on together.

[Translation.] Thank you once again for giving evidence today. We will send you the transcript to make sure that everything is correct. On behalf of our committee, we thank you. This is very helpful. Thank you very much.

Merci beaucoup. Thank you very much. It was a pleasure to participate. Bye-bye.

3. Papur(au) i'w nodi
3. Paper(s) to note

Aelodau, gwnawn ni symud yn syth at eitem 3, sef papurau i'w nodi. Mae gennym ni nifer o bapurau i'w nodi, o 3.1 yn ein papurau hyd at 3.7. Ydych chi'n fodlon inni nodi'r rhain? Ocê. 

Members, we'll move straight on to item 3, which is papers to note. We have a number of papers to note, from 3.1 in our paper pack to 3.7. Are Members content for us to note those papers? I see that Members are. Okay.

4. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o eitemau 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11 a 12 y cyfarfod hwn
4. Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from items 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12 of this meeting


bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o eitemau 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11 a 12 y cyfarfod hwn yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(ix).


that the committee resolves to exclude the public from items 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12 of this meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(ix).

Cynigiwyd y cynnig.

Motion moved.

Felly, rwy'n symud at eitem 4 ac rwy'n cynnig, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42, fod y pwyllgor yn gwahardd y cyhoedd ar gyfer eitemau 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11 a 12 o'r cyfarfod. Ydych chi'n fodlon inni wneud hynny? Iawn, ocê. Fe wnawn ni aros i glywed ein bod ni'n breifat.

So, I move to item 4 and I propose, in accordance with Standing Order 17.42, that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the meeting for items 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12 of this meeting. Are Members content for us to do so? I see that they are. We'll wait to see that we're in private session.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 10:10.

Motion agreed.

The public part of the meeting ended at 10:10.


Ailymgynullodd y pwyllgor yn gyhoeddus am 12:00.

The committee reconvened in public at 12:00.

9. Diwylliant a'r berthynas newydd â’r UE: Sesiwn dystiolaeth gydag arbenigwyr Brexit (7)
9. Culture and the new relationship with the EU: Evidence session with Brexit experts (7)

Prynhawn da a chroeso nôl. Dŷn ni'n symud yn syth at eitem 9. Dŷn ni'n edrych eto ar ddiwylliant a'r berthynas newydd â'r Undeb Ewropeaidd, sesiwn dystiolaeth gydag arbenigwyr Brexit. Rwy'n ddiolchgar iawn i'n tystion ni y prynhawn yma, a dŷn ni'n edrych ymlaen yn fawr at glywed ganddyn nhw. Gwnaf i ofyn i'r Athro Catherine Barnard i gyflwyno ei hunan ar gyfer y record.

Good afternoon and welcome back. We are moving straight to item 9 on our agenda. We are looking again at culture and the new relationship with the EU, and this is an evidence session with Brexit experts. We're very grateful to our witnesses this afternoon and we are looking forward very much to hearing from you both. I'll ask Professor Catherine Barnard to introduce herself for the record, please.

Hello. Thank you very much for the invitation. My name is Catherine Barnard. I'm a professor of EU law in employment law, here at the University of Cambridge.

Diolch yn fawr iawn. 

Thank you very much.

[Translation.] Bonjour, Charlotte. Welcome to our committee.

A fyddech chi'n cyflwyno eich hunan ar gyfer y record?

Will you introduce yourself for the record, please?

Hello. Bonjour. I'm Charlotte Faucher, I'm a lecturer in modern French history at the University of Bristol. Thank you very much for the invitation.

Diolch yn fawr iawn. Fe wnawn ni symud yn syth at gwestiynau, ac mae Alun yn mynd i ofyn y cwestiynau cyntaf.

Thank you very much. We'll move straight to questions, and Alun is going to ask the first set of questions.

Thank you, and I'm grateful to you both for joining us this morning. In terms of where we are at the moment, could you provide us with an overview of the TCA and the post-Brexit arrangements, as they relate to culture? I assume that's to Professor Barnard rather than to both.

Okay. Well, thank you very much indeed for that. There can be a very short answer to your question, which is 'virtually nothing at all'. A slightly longer answer to your question can be found if you look at the mobility provisions in the TCA. Now, I sent to you this morning a couple of slides that can just help to explain what the problem is with the mobility provisions, and why artists, models, actors have been so badly affected. Would it be helpful for you if I just talked you through the problem?

Okay, thank you. So, the slide I'd particularly like you to look at is the one that looks like that, with blue lines across it. So, what I just want to show you is that, with blue lines across it. So, what I just wanted to show you is that, unlike under EU law, when it was possible, for the first three months, for anyone who was an EU national to move, and therefore it was hugely beneficial to musicians, who could hop on a train, go and provide—[Inaudible.]—in Paris, and then come back the next day—all of that has gone, in the context of the TCA, if you want to get paid. So, under the original version of the—. Under EU law, you could get paid under article 56 of the treaty and there was no problem. The problem is that the structure in the mobility provisions in the TCA are incredibly limited. Now, the language is somewhat rebarbative, that you can only move if you fall into one of those five categories listed across the top. The ones that are most relevant to artists would be short-term business visitors and independent professionals, and you can move if you fall into those categories. And, at first sight, you think, 'Well, that covers anyone who wants to be a service provider', but, as a short-term business visitor, as you can see, you can't be paid when you go to the host state. With an independent professional, you can be paid. However, the structure of the TCA is complex.

If you just look down, you see that, under short-term business visitors, you've got annex 21, and annex 21 paragraph 8 explains those categories who are allowed to move. And if you look at the next slide, you'll see the permitted activities of short-term business visitors. So, you can see that anyone can move for a short term, without being paid, if they fall into the categories A to E. And if you cast your eye over that list, you'll see there's nothing there about musicians, actors, models or anything of the sort, so they do not fall within the short-term business visitor category. And even if they did, if you just look at the next slide, you will see that you have what are called union non-conforming measures. 'Non-conforming measures' is the EU language for where each member state produces a carve-out, and they've got exceptions. So, for some activities in some countries, you need to have a work permit despite the fact that you can go. So, the structure—I'm sorry to do it so quickly—the structure of the TCA is what's known as positive listing, and what that means is, by positive listing, you've actually got to have your profession listed in that list before you can take advantage of the rules. So, you can't move as an actor or as an artist as a short-term business visitor, and nor can you move as an independent professional because, again—. And I've included those notes for you.

You will see in paragraph 11 in the annex that the list of independent professionals does not include anyone who is an artist. So, you can see the document that looks like that. It says 'independent professionals' in the grey box on the left-hand side, and you can't move as an independent professional and get paid unless you're in any of the sectors listed there from A to Q. And that list from A to Q doesn't cover artists. Again, there are also exceptions and the exceptions are on the next page, but, given that artists don't benefit, therefore they can't move.

Just to contrast that, finally, with the very last page—I've sent you the page that looks like that—that the UK is actually very generous to creative professionals. As you can see, in the UK, you can come for a month if you've been invited to do entertainment work without any form of visa if you come from a non-visa country, so an EU member state. The long and the short of it—and I'm sorry that this seems complicated, but the long and the short of it—is that, although some categories of individuals can move under the TCA, none of those five categories that I showed you at the beginning, including short-term business visitors and independent professionals, where you would think that would cover musicians and artists, none of them can be invoked by artists. So, they're entirely dependent on national law. 

I'm sorry that was quite long-winded, but that's the longest I'm going to speak for, and I will stop there. 


I'm very grateful to you. It's very useful for us to have such a clear explanation of the current situation. The question that's screaming in my mind now is: how on earth did we find ourselves in this situation, because negotiators would have known that this was the consequence of an agreement of this sort? And how on earth have UK-based creatives been placed in this position by a Government that should have been out there batting for them?  

So, to answer that question, I think I'd make two points. The first is: what I've shown you on that slide is essentially what the rules under GATS, the general agreement on trade in services i.e. the World Trade Organization rules. And I think it would be mistaken for anyone to think that the trade and co-operation agreement is, essentially, EU law minus. What it is is GATS plus, and the plus is in respect of short-term business visitors. You don't see that in the GATS agreement. But, in essence, under GATS, there is very, very little movement or possibility for mobility of natural persons. That's the legal jargon for individuals—you and me. 

And, in fact, the UK got almost nothing in respect of services under the TCA, and this creates a problem for the UK down the line, because the EU thinks they got a very good deal with the UK under the TCA, because they got full access to our market for their goods, where they already had an economic advantage. But they basically closed off our access to the EU in respect of services, where we had a comparative advantage. 

And I'm afraid I would say that, because the UK negotiating team was so desperate to get a deal in a very short space of time—. You might recall that Lord Frost said, 'Nobody thought we could do a deal quickly and, look, we've done it'—but in order to deliver a deal quickly, this has meant that the provision of services, particularly for professionals in the culture sector, has been very badly let down. 

Certainly, over services, the answer is 'yes'. 

Okay. In terms of taking this forward—I'm grateful to you for that, Professor Barnard—to both of you, 'So what?' is the next question. What are the consequences of this? It's a bad deal, it's a bad agreement—I get that. So what? What does it mean in the real world?


Charlotte, do you want to go first, and then I'll follow up? Because I realise I've talked quite a lot.

Oh, it's okay. Yes, sure. So, based on my research, what it means is loss of income—that's the most pressing issue for a lot of organisations and artists that I've interviewed, because UK arts organisations are excluded from most EU-funded schemes and partnerships. It means that visas and carnets are expensive, and prohibitively so in some cases. The travel, as Catherine just explained, of arts practitioners, and the movement of goods, also cultural goods, is restricted. You might have seen the survey from the independent society of musicians that was made in the summer of 2023 that showed that almost half of the musicians in the music industry have had less work in the EU post Brexit, and 40 per cent have had to cancel work in the EU due to the increased cost of travelling and working in the EU. The fact that, now, going to work in the EU and setting up partnerships is administratively burdensome means that smaller institutions are struggling to continue working and initiating partnerships with EU member states. 

I would say that I think there is regret on both sides in respect of limited access for mobility, as you've seen. However, the UK is, relatively speaking, generous in respect of access to musicians, and, paradoxically, of course, that means that the EU's got less incentive to offer a generous deal to the UK, because its musicians have already got access to our market. 

That said, I think there may be space in any future negotiation for, first of all, a youth mobility scheme, which won't necessarily help musicians, but would obviously help young people. The more interesting question is whether there'll be any flexibility down the line to offer some sort of mobility deal based on a 90 out of 180 days model. By that I mean that, at the moment, there's a 90 out of 180 days model for people to travel to the EU as long as they don't do work and they don't get paid, and that's something that you don't need a visa for, doing any of that, or a work permit. The more interesting question is whether, down the line, there might be scope for some sort of 90 out of 180 days arrangement where you can actually do paid employment. Now, it wouldn't be perfect. It certainly wouldn't replicate the free movement that we had prior to Brexit, but at least it would allow people who want to travel temporarily to provide services to get paid for it, and then, as Charlotte helpfully pointed out, there would also need to be a deal as well in respect of all of the equipment that they carry with them if they're a band, for example, trying to perform in another EU member state.

Diolch yn fawr iawn, Cadeirydd, a'r cwestiwn cyntaf i Dr Faucher, os caf i—mae hi wedi dweud bod y Deyrnas Unedig wedi mynd nôl nawr i'r 1930au yn sgil y penderfyniad i adael yr Undeb Ewropeaidd. Allwch chi ddweud, efallai, beth mae hynny yn ei olygu, a hefyd sut ddaethoch chi i'r casgliad yna?

Thank you very much, Chair, and a first question to Dr Faucher, if I may, who said that the UK has gone back to the 1930s as a result of the decision to exit the EU. Could you tell us a little bit more about what that means, and how you came to that conclusion?

Yes, thank you for the question. So, I'm a historian, but I've also worked on, obviously, contemporary impressions of the impact of Brexit on the cultural sector and cultural collaboration. And I've come to these conclusions through a methodology of both historical work and a qualitative survey that included over 30 interviews as well as some questionnaires. Through these inductive methods I have managed to produce several nodes, several themes, that were central to the experiences of cultural administrators post Brexit. I think, Catherine, you mentioned this emotional response to Brexit, and this desire to maintain relationships, and that's something that I've found. What I meant when I said that the UK arts sector has gone back to the 1930s through this work is because, in the 1930s, there was really a feeling of loss and missing out on the part of UK artists when they were looking across the channel, partly because the British Council was created in 1934, which is decades after the ancestor of the Goethe-Institut, or the Cervantes institute, or the Alliance Française. Similar bodies were really active in continental Europe, and UK artists had the feeling that they didn't have the support on the part of the state. I would say that this loss, this feeling that they were missing out, and this feeling quite envious about that support, is something that I found again in the interviews that I conducted post Brexit—this idea that artists in the UK were missing out on Creative Europe schemes, on networking opportunities, on funding, indeed.


Diolch am hynny. Mae hynny'n glir. Mae rhai o'r meysydd sydd yn ymwneud â'r holl bwnc yma yn rhai lle mae gan Weinidogion San Steffan gyfrifoldeb drostyn nhw; mae yna rai lle mae yna Weinidogion datganoledig yng Nghymru â chyfrifoldeb drostyn nhw; mae yna rai o'r polisïau yma yn feysydd polisi sydd yn bwerau wedi'u cadw yn ôl i San Steffan; mae yna rai eraill wedi'u datganoli. Mi wnaf i ofyn i'r ddwy ohonoch chi: sut ŷch chi'n gweld hynny yn cael impact ar yr holl sefyllfa yma, a beth ŷch chi'n meddwl yw goblygiadau hynny i ni fel un o'r Seneddau datganoledig?

Thank you very much for that. That's clear. Some areas related to this issue in its entirety are ones where Westminster Ministers have responsibility; there are devolved Ministers in Wales who have responsibility for some of these policies; some of these policies are in policy areas that are reserved to Westminster; some are devolved. I'll ask both of you: how do you see that having an impact on the current situation, and what do you think the implications of that model are for us as devolved Parliaments?

Shall I go first on that? Of course, immigration is reserved to Westminster. I think, also, relating to the earlier question, one of the reasons why there was such a limited deal on mobility was it was against a broader backdrop that the Government wanted to be seen to be hard on immigration, and therefore there was no interest on the Home Office side to try and negotiate a more generous deal. 

I think that attitudes to migration have changed quite considerably in the intervening three or four years—in part, COVID has helped that paradoxically, because the public's beginning to see that migrant workers have been good for the UK, because they were working as key workers. And, of course, now we know that about 750,000 migrants came to the UK under the current so-called controlled border scheme that we have post Brexit, and you're not seeing the pushback that you saw in 2015-16 over the arrival of EU migrant workers.

I don't think we will go back to free movement, not least because, even within the EU, there is increasingly some pushback against free movement. But the question then is, instead of talking about free movement, could we talk about mobility schemes. By repackaging the language from free movement to mobility, it already suggests something much more limited, which is why I was suggesting that 90 out of 180-day agreement—that in those 90 days, you can actually do paid employment, which would help the self-employed quite considerably, not just in the cultural sector, but any self-employed consultant or others who want to do short-term work in the EU.

The trouble is that doesn't leave much space for you, but what you can do is you can, in the devolveds, be lobbying, pushing, if not the Home Office, but at least the Foreign Office, who may or not be leading the TCA implementation review, and also the Department for Business and Trade, to see what they can do to try and address some of these really fundamental problems. I think the musicians organisations have been really quite effective in their lobbying. It's well known that it's a problem. But, again, something where you can ventilate these issues I think would be very important.

Dr Faucher, do you want to add anything, particularly in relation to the dynamic between devolved and non-devolved?

I would really like to echo this idea of lobbying. I think the Welsh Government has done some really impressive work. I'm thinking, for example, of your version of Erasmus, namely Taith—sorry if I'm mispronouncing it—the international learning exchange programme, and I think artists would really welcome a programme that replaces, mimics or supports them in the same sense that Creative Europe used to. There might be some scope there for either lobbying or implementing.


It's interesting that you've both mentioned lobbying, because the First Minister has actually told our committee that his focus is going to be on making sure that the TCA works as effectively as possible and on improving inter-governmental relations. Because lobbying is one thing, but very often, we hear coming back from the Welsh Government that they're not being listened to, which is a frustration on many fronts. Do you believe that getting that right would resolve many of the issues that the sector want to be addressed, or is it a case of minimising damage, as opposed to getting things right?

The problem about getting the TCA to work as effectively as possible is, as I've just shown you with the slides, the TCA is extremely limited in its ambition. Therefore, even if this worked well, it doesn't actually resolve any of the issues for musicians or any other cultural professionals, because they are just not listed in any of those lists to take advantage of what limited mobility provisions there are. Of course, also, it's the Labour Party's perspective too, certainly at Westminster, that they talk a lot about getting the TCA to work as well as can be. The problem is that that is a very limited ambition if you're trying to improve the position of artists.

The more interesting question, if I may, just to push it a bit further, is if the Labour Party were to get into power in Westminster at the end of this year or the start of next, are they prepared to make a much bigger offering to the EU, starting with security and defence, where there is, sadly, increasingly, commonality of interest. There is one school of thought that, if an incoming Labour Government were to make a much more positive offering there, other things might follow in its wake, including, possibly, some sort of new arrangement on mobility. But the starting point is a very high-level one, which is closer co-operation, possibly formalised, in respect of security and defence.

Again, that leaves very little space for the Welsh Government, because obviously it's another reserved matter. But if that is the plan—and what I'm hearing from some people is that's the best way forward, although others are talking about 'start small', but the wiser voices seem to be staying 'start big' with something like that—that will create a build-up and a culture of trust, a lot of which was destroyed in the immediate post-Brexit period, although it's been better under Rishi Sunak, and then other things might happen too.

One other geopolitical factor you might want to bear in mind in terms of looking at how things might improve is that, obviously, there's a lot of desire both on the EU side and on the Ukrainian side for Ukraine to become a full member state. The reality is that it's not going to happen; they won't be full members by 2030, which is the objective. And one of the interesting debates that's happening at the moment is whether there might be some sort of arrangement for what's called variable geometry, or concentric circles, where you could see some parallels between Ukraine coming in and the UK coming a bit closer. All of this is deeply politically challenging and it's very unlikely that Labour is going to deal with that straightaway, but that may be the direction of travel, going forward.

Very interesting. That's one to ponder, isn't it? Dr Faucher, do you want to add anything?

No. I would concur with this idea that it's a question of political will.

Diolch am hynny. Roedd hynny'n eithriadol o ddiddorol. Gwnawn ni symud ymlaen at Tom.

Thank you for that. It was exceptionally interesting. We will move on to Tom.

Thank you very much. A question to both of you: in your view, what opportunities do the new arrangements offer?

Yes, of course. I would say that it really depends on your political understanding of culture and creative freedom. In my research, I've found some people who consider that there might be some opportunities, especially because there is a displacement of funding and creatives are forced to now turn to the private sector a little bit more than in the past.

Obviously, this places responsibility on individual adaptability and that enhances the role of the private sector over that of the Government. That's why I said it's a matter of political understanding of your definition of culture. For many in the sector, if artists and arts managers are forced to justify their cultural projects to private sponsors in order to obtain funding, what does that mean for the sector's creativity and artistic freedom, which might then suffer and perhaps decline?

I would like to note the testimony of one interviewee, who was, at the time, an elected member of a Conservative-led local council, and she was herself a Conservative. She believed that this reliance on UK charities and the private sector, rather than on EU funding, is beneficial to the sector. She explained to me, and I quote:

‘It will force cultural groups to sharpen up what they are selling because the quality is really good but the benefit for the funder is not as clear as what it might have been. Whereas now, they will be more focused on what the value is for the funder.’

So, of course, there is that question of do we attribute value to art and to creative expression.

Perhaps the second trend I've identified is the rise of the reliance on digital strategies, which, of course, is linked to the contemporary drive to the digital anyway, and also our rising awareness about sustainability. But some interviewees said that Brexit and the issues that we've mentioned of border entry, visa and work permit regulations have been key drivers in organising digital residencies, for example, as a way to maintain European partnership in a cost-effective way.


I think the opportunities created by the TCA, as I've indicated, are almost non-existent. I think you have to look more broadly, as Charlotte's just done, at what activity has been generated as a result of having to move away from reliance on EU funding bodies, but also reliance more generally on freedom of movement. One of the things we have seen post Brexit is that the services sector as a whole has remained reasonably buoyant, and certainly the trade statistics show that services remain reasonably buoyant because it's one of the sectors where a lot of work can be done online and doesn't require movement. But, of course, that probably isn't the case with the provision of music or, certainly, live performances. So, there's not really much opportunity there. I'll stop there.

Thank you. We were having a discussion in our last evidence session about the growth, if you like, in the UK cultural sector plc, the increase in the number of people working in the cultural sector post Brexit, the increase in big productions like Barbie taking place here in the UK. In light of what you've said to us about relations with the European Union and the challenges that the creative sector has faced, why do you think the economic output, if we condense it just to the economic numbers, points in a perhaps different direction?

As I say, trade in services has remained buoyant post Brexit, unlike the trade in goods, which has been much more seriously affected. The fact is we have a large number of universities offering fantastic courses in creative writing and other forms of creativity. There will come a time when fewer EU students will attend those courses, so that will create some vacancies and space for UK national students, and we have a long tradition of entrepreneurship in this area.

I would say one other point that might be worth bearing in mind is that even though we're out of the EU, we're still bound by much EU law, both directly and indirectly. There are a couple of examples I would draw to your attention, most importantly the Digital Services Act, which regulates the provision of online services. It is an EU measure, but it applies extraterritorially, i.e. it applies to online platforms outside the EU that do business within the EU. Of course, this is an important piece of legislation. It's a sister piece of legislation to the Digital Markets Act, and I note today that the AI legislation has just been agreed by the European Parliament, all of which will have an impact on the creative industries in the UK trying to sell their services online, and this is legislation into which we've had no say whatsoever, but we will be bound by it, or certainly our large operators will be bound by it.


Okay, thank you. And then, finally, you've talked about the kind of best outcomes for the sector already in terms of mobility, and that was the word that's come through in your evidence so far. What are the other kinds of best outcomes you would hope for for the cultural sector post Brexit?

Yes. I think for me, it would be the reintegration of the UK into Creative Europe, as other non-EU countries are part of the scheme and there are many options for different types of agreements and partnerships. From the research I've conducted, aside from that question of mobility and support as well, one tangible arrangement would be that reintegration into Creative Europe.

I would just add to that that all of these things would be improved by much smoother mobility arrangements, and we see that with Horizon now. Although the UK's gone back into Horizon, which of course I would say, working in the university, is a good thing, the dimension of Horizon that will not work is the ability to attract scholars from other EU states to come to the UK, because the problem is the visa rules, and the visa rules and the cost of the visas are prohibitively high, exacerbated by significant health service surcharges. And if you are a creative industry person, unless you are going to work in the UK for an organisation that can pay significant visa fees, this would be a significant disincentive to come to the UK.

Ocê. Ocê, mi wnawn ni symud ymlaen at Hefin.

Okay. Okay, we'll move on to Hefin.

Diolch, Cadeirydd. Turning back to the trade and co-operation agreement, I'm looking at the layout of the agreement and the structure. The civil society forum is fed by UK and EU domestic advisory groups. One of the issues that we've found is that the UK domestic advisory group only has one representative from Wales, and that's the Wales Council for Voluntary Action, and no-one else, certainly no-one from the cultural creative sectors. How much of an influence is the civil society forum, and is that an issue? Is that a problem?

I would like to say that it is making a difference, but in fact I see little evidence of it. I'm not sure if anyone's doing any research on this yet, and of course, it's better that the civil societies groups talk than not talk, but it's striking: I see that even the PPA, the Parliamentary Partnership Assembly, they were meant to meet shortly, and that's just been cancelled. Now, it may be explained by the fact that there are EU elections coming up, but nevertheless, I see this as really quite a negative step, because it's one of the ways in which the civil society groups could feed into a broader discussion. So, I suppose, in summary, it's not great that the creative industries are not represented from Wales there, but is it making a big difference on the macro level? I'm afraid I've seen little evidence of it.

What would improve the TCA? Where would you like me to start? [Laughter.] In this particular area, my starting point would be a much more robust arrangement on mobility that allows for greater movement for a limited period of time. I think the days are gone, and I don't think the Government—even a Labour Government, let alone a Conservative Government—would want any attempt to rejoin the single market with free movement of persons, and I think Keir Starmer's already ruled that out, but a more limited mobility agreement would at least help. The issue, I think, over free movement wasn't so much that people were moving, but people were staying, and of course, this was putting significant pressure on housing and the health service. If they were only able to come for 90 out of 180 days, those pressures would be alleviated.

In respect of mutual recognition of professional qualifications, that is in the TCA and that would be an area—to go back to the earlier question—where things could be done better, and it would be an area where you could imagine getting the TCA to work better. But mutual recognition of qualifications is really hard and the EU's got a directive on it and it runs to 110 pages, and that's in the context of a system where there is already free movement. So, if you look at Canada, Canada has one agreement on mutual recognition of professional qualifications with the EU. They have a similar structure in this respect to what you find in the TCA, and it took, I think, 10 years to negotiate. And if we're going to do it sector by sector to recognise qualifications, we may be here until the other side of the next millennium.


Okay. Charlotte, did you want to come in on any of that before I ask the next question?

I've studied another civil society forum that's called Eurocities, and the echo I got from smaller councils or smaller town councils is that there is a desire to get involved through these city-to-city connections and networks to access European partnerships at the municipal level. Because that's another way: if you can't do it through the Foreign Office, you might do it through municipal partnerships, and that's quite popular among cities like Manchester, for example. But the hindrance is the fee to just join a group like Eurocities, which is otherwise really active. I think the fees might be around £20,000 and, for some councils, that's just too much. So, perhaps political support on the part of the Welsh Government via a council to guide these cities and councils towards these European municipal networks might be a good solution at that municipal level.

Diolch am hwnna. 

Thank you for that.

I think Alun might want to come in here, Hefin. Oh no, Alun was just looking with very keen interest in what you were saying. Okay, forgive me, Hefin.

And I'd also like to look at a broader issue and that's the relationship between the EU and the UK at the moment. Previous witnesses have told us that it's vastly improved—that the relationships are better than they've been at any time since Brexit. Is that fair to say or do you think that the mood music is actually more pessimistic?

I would say that it is significantly better than it was. It reached its nadir, I think, under Boris Johnson, and I think it was very damaging in terms of trust. I think this is the cause of the problems now. Rishi Sunak, I think, to his credit, has recognised this and the very fact that the Windsor framework agreement was agreed, and also the revisions to the Windsor framework, which led to the Stormont Assembly getting back into office, has been incredibly positive, both at the highest level to show that the UK can be trusted and can deliver, and at a more micro level in that the EU and the officials in the UK and in Northern Ireland are having to work together on a day-to-day basis over data sharing and over the operation of some of these provisions. All of this is very positive.

Less positive is the fact that the EPC, the European Political Community, which was meant to be hosted by the UK has not actually met and, although it's not an EU-UK body, it would have shown commitment by the UK. And of course, as I just mentioned, the PPA, the Parliamentary Partnership Assembly, has just been cancelled.

Again, on a more positive note, the numerous working groups and specialised committees under the TCA are also meeting, and again, that's officials talking to each other. So, things are much better than they were, but it is bumpy because there is still a legacy of mistrust for those who've been around the Commission for a long time and saw what happened during the negotiations over the withdrawal agreement, and then the possible reneging on our commitments under the withdrawal agreement. But there is a recognition that Rishi Sunak is being much more pragmatic. And the very fact that there was a deal over the rules of origin of batteries for electric cars—very important for the sector—not a sexy issue, but nevertheless shows that things are better.


Okay. And perhaps I'll invite Charlotte as well to respond to the broader question: what lessons might we take from your research, as a committee, that haven't already been mentioned in detail?

Yes, so beyond this loss of opportunity and this real longing on the part of the EU and the UK to bring back these partnerships and relationships, I have to say that I think it's important to think about small and medium-sized cultural organisations, which I've found are the worst affected by the TCA, because they do not have the financial means and the human resources to deal with the added administrative burden. And there are also areas that benefited most from some schemes, such as the inter-territorial co-operation, like INTERREG, and there's no programme that really has come to replace this sort of support. 

There has been criticism about artists and organisations not having enough guidance. There is, of course, guidance from organisations like Wales Arts International, but, as I've mentioned, because some organisations are just too small and do not have the human resources to seek this guidance and to spend time on getting up to date with the latest rules, it just doesn't work for some organisations. And perhaps in relation to the trade aspect of it, the Welsh Government manages a network of overseas offices that promote trade opportunities and that might also be able to support artists and organisations. 

My final point would be that I don't think we will know the full impact of Brexit on the arts for another generation. What I mean here is that the current reservoir of cultural affinity in the UK towards the EU members states will run dry at some point, because the new generation of cultural managers and artists that are emerging now will not have benefited from EU-funded schemes like Creative Europe and will therefore not have developed similar networks with EU partners, contrary to the administrators in place now, their predecessors. I'll stop there.

Yes. Diolch. Dr Barnard, was there anything you wanted to add to that final question? No. Thank you very much. Diolch, Hefin.

One final question from me, if I may. In terms of Dr Faucher's final point there about quantifying the cost of how the effect of Brexit could be measured, you mentioned earlier, Dr Faucher, the tension about the fact that the value that we put on art and creative expression can sometimes be less quantifiable in terms of the hard way of looking at things, rather than the other ways of measuring riches.

One of the tensions that we have come across a lot in the evidence that we're receiving during this inquiry is that a lot of the people who are giving evidence to us are giving us anecdotal evidence about the desperately difficult effect that this is having on their livelihoods, on the soul of their work, but possibly because of the fact that these are small organisations, they haven't had the time or the capacity to develop data to show us that in that way. What would be your take on that tension? Is it, to a certain extent, an inevitable tension that exists because, with the arts and the creative industries, it is something that comes so much from the heart and soul, if I can put it like that? Dr Barnard, you are laughing, so I'm going to ask you to answer first. 

I so loved the passionate way you put that, and as a dull academic, I can't recreate your passion. But what I would say is that there is a lot of struggle at the moment trying to work out the cost-benefit analysis of Brexit. John Springford at the Centre for European Reform has been doing some good work, using what he calls the doppelganger model, to try to work out where the UK might have been had it not left the EU, by using for comparison a basket of countries that have stayed in the EU and how they have proceeded, and he thinks there's about a 5 per cent hit to GDP. The Bank of England's research broadly mirrors that. There's some very good work being done by Professor Sampson at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he's been having some really good access to Government data, trying to work out who has been most affected by Brexit. And I would really recommend you have a look at some of his work and, perhaps, if it was helpful to you, invite him to speak to this committee. He might probably give you the best assessment that's available at the moment about trying to work out the economic costs of Brexit, particularly to the cultural sector.


Thank you very much. And, Dr Faucher, is there anything that you'd like to say on that?

Yes. I would completely agree with you about this tension. I think some federations, artistic federations, have done some really important work to show the economic impact, but as you were mentioning, the arts sector is also composed of smaller organisations, independent freelancers, and precarity is significant in the sector. 'Can we put value on artistic creativity?', I guess would be the question that relates to what you were asking.

Thank you ever so much. Was there anything further that either of you had hoped would come up in our questions today that you haven't been able to cover, please?

I would just say, you had one question that you perhaps had already thought about, which is the question about what will happen with the TCA implementation review, which is the article 776 review due to take place five years after Brexit occurred, so at the start of 2025—sorry, end of 2025, start of 2026. There had been a hope in some quarters that this would lead to potentially a rewriting of the TCA. The European Commission came out at the end of last year and really tried to damp down expectations, making clear that the TCA review is a review of 'implementation'—that's the language in article 776—not a review of the TCA itself.

Now, of course, at the start of next year, we may be in a very different position, possibly with a new Government in the UK, and certainly with a newly composed European Parliament after the European Parliament elections in June, and possibly a new Commission, so there might be some appetite for change—a bit more ambitious change than currently in the European Commission. The other thing to remember about the TCA is it was structured like a very large sandwich. So, it's got institutional provisions at the top, including some of the committees that you've helpfully referred to, and then common provisions across the bottom in terms of remedies. But inside that sandwich, it was always envisaged that you could have bolt-on extra agreements, as long as they fitted within that broader framing. And so it may be that one of the things that could be looked at is what could be bolted on to that agreement if the geopolitical conditions and also the political contex change somewhat.

Diolch. Thank you very much. Thank you very much indeed. And, Dr Faucher, was there anything else that you wanted to add? No. Okay. Well, can I thank the two of you very much indeed for your evidence this afternoon?

[Translation.] Thank you very much for your participation today.

Bydd trawsgript o'r hyn sydd wedi cael ei ddweud yn cael ei anfon atoch chi ichi wirio ei fod e'n gofnod teg o'r hyn sydd wedi cael ei ddweud, ond, am nawr, buaswn i jest eisiau diolch unwaith eto i chi am yr hyn dŷch chi wedi'i ddweud.

A transcript of what has been said will be sent to you to check that it's an accurate reflection of what has been said, but, for the time being, I'd like to thank you once again for your evidence.

[Translation.] On behalf on our committee, I would like to thank you. Thank you very much.

Diolch yn fawr iawn.

Many thanks to you both.

And thank you too for your very helpful questions.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Thank you ever so much. Thank you.

Aelodau, fe wnawn ni aros i glywed ein bod ni'n breifat.

Members, we'll wait to hear that we're in private session.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 12:49.

The public part of the meeting ended at 12:49.