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European Ambassadors to UAE welcome Schengen visa waiver for UAE nationals

posted on 11/05/2015: 3504 views

European Ambassadors in the UAE have welcomed the European Parliament decision to allow UAE citizens to visit Europe visa-free.

Speaking about the decision, German Ambassador to the UAE, Dr. Eckhard Luebkemeier, expressed his delight at the news, saying, "I am extremely pleased about the introduction of visa-free travel between the UAE and the European Schengen area. This is a day to celebrate what constitutes a milestone in the relationship between the UAE and Europe and between the UAE and Germany.

"Germany has been a strong advocate of the visa waiver. People-to-people contacts are a vital underpinning of the close and friendly ties that exist between the UAE and Germany. Visa-free travel will further strengthen these ties by bringing even more Emirati citizens to Germany. In the past, Germany issued more than 50,000 Schengen visas for UAE nationals per year, and now, we will not have to do so any more."

The German Ambassador added, "Emirati citizens can now jump on a plane whenever they like and without having to bother about a visa application. Whether they come as tourists, for business or medical treatment, like in the past they are most welcome to Germany. We hope that more and more Emirati citizens will make use of visa-free travel and come to visit us."

UAE nationals are now able to travel without a visa requirement to any member state of the Schengen zone for up to 90 uninterrupted days within a 180 day period.

Giorgio Starace, Italian Ambassador to the UAE, also spoke about the advantages of the EU-UAE visa waiver, saying, "Italy has been one of the main supporters of the visa waiver, and during the Italian Presidency of the EU Council, which ended on December 31st, 2014, we put a big focus on the importance to reinforce even more the relations between EU and UAE.

"For Italy, finalising the visa waiver process in time for Expo Milan 2015 has been a crucial issue. The Embassy of Italy in Abu Dhabi and the Consulate-General in Dubai had envisaged a super fast-track for those who wished to obtain a Schengen visa in order to visit Expo Milan, and we are very satisfied that less than one week after the opening of the most important event of the year in Italy, UAE visitors will be free to travel to Italy without any immigration concern."

Mr. Starace also said that Italy has emerged as one of the top ten destinations for UAE, explaining that the partnership between the two airlines Alitalia and Etihad Airways, which are also official carriers of Expo Milano 2015, is largely contributing to the growth of tourism relations between the two countries.

"The UAE is a strategic partner of Italy in the MENA region, both politically and economically. Italy's traditional role as a bridge between Europe and the Arab world is highly appreciated by our Emirati friends, and there is an emotional and intellectual connection with this country," he said.

The Italian Ambassador concluded by saying, "There are plenty of reasons to take advantage of the visa waiver and book a flight to Italy, but I would like to say that the main one is that Italy is not a country, it is a state of mind which does not abandon you even when you come back home, because it is synonymous of good life, the good life we want everyone to enjoy." - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


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