German musicians beg Angela Merkel to allow instruments through customs

26 June 2013, 11:15

Daniel Barenboim, Andras Schiff, Viktoria Mullova and 27 other German performers are protesting against expensive customs regulations.

Professional musicians in Germany are calling for the German government to allow high-value instruments through customs. Thirty musicians including Daniel Barenboim, Andras Schiff, and Viktoria Mullova have written an open letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel, asking her to relax customs restrictions and allow instruments through without charge.

The musicians describe the customs measures as a 'great impediment' to their careers. "Entry and exit of international artists into the European Union is an important contribution to the cultural life in Europe," they said. "This should not be obstructed by customs procedures in a way that in the end considerably hinders our professional practice and that of our colleagues."

The letter follows a number of customs seizures at Frankfurt airport, where performers have been asked to pay hefty customs fines to retrieve their instruments, sometimes running into tens of thousands of Euros. If the rules are relaxed, the musicians hope they will be able to carry their instruments abroad if they carry proof of ownership.