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Feb 23 2013

UAE intensifies efforts to exempt citizens of visa requirement to Schengen countries

UAE intensifies efforts to exempt citizens of visa requirement to Schengen countries Photo Credit:Reuters/Denis Balibouse

Abu Dhabi, 23 Feb. 2013 (WAM) - Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Butti Al Hamed, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that the UAE is making intensive diplomatic efforts with the European Union to exempt citizens of the state of the Schengen visa. The UAE has been working on this issue with the European Union for over a year, now.

"The UAE wishes to express its appreciation over the fact that its request to be included among the countries whose citizens do not require a visa to travel to the Schengen Area is currently under serious consideration by the European Union.

The UAE realises that this request is at the beginning of a complex internal debate and subject to internal EU-procedures." Although a decision is pending, and will be pending for some time as the request is subject to scrutiny by various EU-institutions, the UAE is confident that a mutually beneficial outcome will be reached.

For the UAE, the main arguments that underpin its request are: - Visa-free access will further facilitate a trade relationship between the UAE and the Schengen Area that currently stands at over USD 40 billion (over USD 60 billion for the whole European Union); - Visa-free access does not mean that Emirati citizen will migrate to Europe; they will not take up social security meant for European citizens; and they do not pose a security threat; - Exempting the UAE would send a positive signal for greater cultural openness towards the Arab and Muslim worlds.

The UAE wishes to thank the vast number of EU- and Schengen states that have come out in support of its request and hopes that the request can still be officially heard, this year. It is hopeful that it can continue to count on this support, also at the later stages of the decision-making process. The UAE remains ready to work with all relevant EU-institutions and to fullfil all requirements necessary to obtain visa-free status, including full reciprocity of visa-freedom to all EU- and Schengen-states.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Butti Al Hamed, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the exemption of visa will facilitate the travel of citizens of the state to Schengen, "it will mutually benefit all parties and will strengthen relations of cooperation and friendship in various fields between the UAE and the Schengen countries."

© Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2013.


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