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Airlines' threat to our creativity

We cannot allow airlines to silence the musicians of Europe.

It was with great concern that I read of the £1,340 'violin charge' imposed on travelling musicians.

I myself have raised the issue with the European Commission and will be bringing it before the European Parliament's Committee on Transport and Tourism of which I am a member.

As well as an amateur musician being ripped off, this will impact negatively on people whose very livelihoods depend on their instruments travelling safely with them.

We cannot tolerate a situation where musicians are prevented from carrying out their work by excessive charges.

The motto of the European Union is 'Unity in Diversity' and cultural exchange is a cornerstone of this fundamental principle.

Arts and culture should benefit society - not an airline's balance-sheet.

JIM HIGGINS

MEP for Ireland North West

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