WAM STRASBOURG, 27th February, 2014 (WAM) — The European Parliament (EP) has voted today to allow visa-free travel for U.A.E. citizens to countries in the Schengen Area in Europe.
This came during a meeting held today in Strasbourg with a majority vote of 523 out of 577 EU representatives. The EU’s endorsement of the visa waiver status for U.A.E. citizens traveling to Schengen Area is deemed as crucial stage which will be followed by setting up of a mechanism to implement the decision.
The procedural arrangements to put the decision in to effect will start by setting up of a joint working team of the U.A.E. and EU, who will implement the decision as soon as possible.
The team will intensifying its efforts to speed up the procedure of the implementation of decision as a prelude to the final announcement to allow UAE citizens visa free travel to Schengen Area.
Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs from Strasbourg congratulated President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for this great achievement saying that this historic vote is the result of two years of organised and relentless work which was diligently led by H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, who followed all its stages from the beginning.
Today’s vote is a reflection of the good reputation enjoyed by the U.A.E. and its achievements on the regional and global levels, Mr. Gargash stated and added that the U.A.E. will be the first Arab country who got visa waiver for Schengen countries.
He remarked that concrete achievement of the citizens will make it easier for them to travel freely and move in 27 European countries in implementation to the UAE approach, that put Emirati citizens as a priority for its efforts and activities.
He added that what has been achieved today came through comprehensive and collective efforts led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and it’s diplomatic missions abroad in addition to the country’s concerned institutions, particularly the Ministry of Interior.
He concluded by hailing the important role played by Mr. Sulaiman Hamed Al Mazroui, U.A.E. Ambassador to Belgium and embassy staff there.
The decision affirms U.A.E’s strong and strategic political and economic relations with EU, where the trade and investment between the parties have exceeded to 50 billion Euros.
The number of return flights between the U.A.E. and Europe have reached 508 weekly and there are more than 160,000 EU citizens living in the U.A.E., in addition to over 1.64 million visitors who come to the U.A.E. annually according to 2012 figures.