The repeated instrument seizures at Frankfurt airport and elsewhere have resulted in a high-level approach from a sheaf of top musicians to the German Chancellor, asking her to grant Customs exemption to musicians travelling with high-value instruments.
Here’s the full letter (auf Deutsch). Anyone care to translate?
UPDATE: Rough translation:
Open letter from artists to the Federal Government, with the support of the Association of German Concert Agencies
Dear Mrs. Chancellor,
Dear Minister Dr. von der Leyen [Labour and Social Affairs],
Dear Minister Dr. Westerwelle [Foreign Affairs],
Dear Minister Dr. Schäuble [Finance, as such responsible for customs]
Dear Minister Neumann [Culture],
We percieve with great concern some measures taken by the customs authorities in the context of the import or re-import of musical instruments into the EU jurisdiction. Some prominent colleagues of us have recently been held at customs; in same cases their instruments were seized because of allegations regarding supposed violations of customs regulations. We perceive these measures as a great impediment against practicing our profession. We therefore suggest that instruments carried on by musicians in the context of their profession shall be allowed to be imported and exported as personal belongings without any customs formalities being required. Especially at airports the use of the green channel must be allowed.
In the past weeks, there has repeatedly been mentioned that with so called ATA carnets musicians could travel without impediments at customs. However, this regulation ignores the fact [translator's note: it's actually not the regulation that should be the subject of this phrase, but I suppose you get what they mean] that the ATA carnets – depending on the value of the instrument – come with considerable costs, as for issuing an ATA carnet a guarantee of 30% of the instrument’s value has to be deposed.
We have in mind a regulation, according to which [incorrect grammar here in the German original, translator's note] a simplified customs procedure would apply for carrying on the instrument, the artist being allowed to import and export the instrument with a proof that he [only the male form is used, translator's note] is the owner of the instrument or with a certificate of the owner (e.g. a foundation) identifying him as the entitled user. As a proof for the practice of the profession, a contract for a performance in Germany or a country of the European Union should be sufficient. The same applies for the binding acceptance by a concert organiser or appropriate concert announcements or posters.
Entry and exit of international artists into the European Union is an important contribution to the cultural life in Europe. This should not be hampered by customs procedures in a way that in the end considerably handicaps the professional practice of us and our colleagues.
We may ask you as responsible ministers of the Federal Government and you, honourable Mrs. Chancellor, to take care of this problem.
Julia Fischer, Viktoria Mullova, Daniel Barenboim, Andras Schiff, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Mandelring Quartet… and more