The UK, the EU, and Berlin Station

This is just so people don’t get overly anxious. It’s complicated, and I’m not an expert, but simply thinking the issues through, I don’t think we have to worry that further filming of a U.S. tv series in Berlin will be prevented by the current political situation, even if some of the talent are UK citizens. If you can think of an issue I haven’t referred to here, please comment so we all learn something.

Actors who want to work in other countries may or may not need to apply independently for a visa to do so. Actors’ unions (Richard Armitage is a member of Equity) have often negotiated exchange agreements for actors from one country to receive permission to work in another one. UK Equity has exchange agreements with both the US and Australia, although artists of international reputation can apply for a U.S. visa even if they don’t have an already-negotiated contract. I assume the reason that UK Equity doesn’t have this sort of arrangement for the EU or any EU countries is that EU nationals currently have the right to travel to, move to and seek work in other EU countries. Armitage would naturally retain the right to travel to the EU (he will now just have to stand in the often longer line with the rest of us non-EU people). His rights to residency and work would of course change.

However, an actor of Armitage’s status in the industry is not going to have problems getting visas and or work permits, if necessary, for most other countries. He would certainly have had to make these arrangements for The Hobbit (and possibly Strike Back) as well. He would not have been left on his own to do it. Most large employers who employ talent from other countries either have a special office devoted to this issue, or they subcontract the work to a company that specializes in it. KPMG is one I am familiar with. Any separation of the UK from the EU is probably not going to prevent Armitage from working in Europe if an employer really wants him to; he will simply have to complete additional paperwork and possibly need to join an additional actors’ union. (I can’t imagine there’s anything in Armitage’s past that would cause any EU country to be able to legally deny him a residence permit. It’s just a pain in the ass, as anyone who’s ever applied for one knows. And it means you have to think ahead — you can’t cross a border thoughtlessly any longer or without regard to the consequences.)

At any rate, right now according to the EU constitution, it’s going to be two years until the UK can leave the EU. Even if the UK and EU rush the process to finish before two years, as some EU officials would like, the UK is likely to drag its feet and the odds that any visa or work permit issue would prevent any EU national from working in Germany by spring of 2017 are quite low. Laws developed over years and years simply can’t be changed this fast. By the time any law changed to affect Armitage’s ability to work in Germany, the studio would have made arrangements for its talent.

Finally, there’s the question of subsidies. Berlin Station was subsidized by the German Motion Picture Fund, but even if it had been subsidized by an EU film support program, that hangs on the fact that it is filmed in Germany, which remains part of the EU. I suppose there’s a question of whether there might be more demand for EU film subsidy monies once England leaves the EU (or that the amount of monies available will fall), which might create more demand for German subsidies in general. But I’m guessing that the amount of the subsidy from the German Motion Picture Fund would fall after the first year anyway. (I should probably research to see if this information is available anywhere.)

~ by Servetus on June 28, 2016.

One Response to “The UK, the EU, and Berlin Station”

  1. See this article, as well:

    point 5 addresses Armitage’s situation and notes it as uncertain.

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