UAE citizens to enjoy visa free travel to 34 European countries
A signing ceremony involving European and Emirati diplomats took place in Belgium, where officials from both sides exclaimed "a very important day" for UAE nationals. The Dubai-based Gulf News described the announcement as "a major diplomatic victory for the UAE".[break]
"This is a historic moment in the relationship between the UAE and the EU," said UAE Ambassador to the EU Sulaiman Hamid Almazroui.
"The Schengen waiver agreement was an initiative that’s been there for three years. Today, it has been successfully concluded by the signing ceremony at the EU Council."
It has taken nearly a year for the EU to ratify the UAE joining Schengen. In June 2014 the European Parliament passed a proposal for the Gulf state to join the visa waiver agreement by 523 votes against 54.
There are more than 500 flights per week between the UAE and EU member states, according to Gulf News, who reported that there is now likely to be an increase in these figures due to the Schengen entry.
Trade between the UAE and EU is almost at $50bn and is also likely to benefit from Emiratis being able to travel visa free for three months at a time in 34 European countries. ■