Emiratis ‘weeks away’ from visa-free travel to EU

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Emiratis are a step away from visa-free travel to the European Union.

Approval has been granted by the EU’s Security and Policy Committee, it was announced on Wednesday.

“The endorsement represents the last legal procedure before the final formal approval by the European Parliament, whose Committee on Civil Liberties has already approved the visa waiver,” said Sulaiman Al Mazrouei, the UAE’s ambassador to the EU.

Over the past few months, the waiver had been welcomed by Germany and the UK.

“It is a mutual interest between the UAE and Germany,” Guido Westerwelle, Germany’s foreign minister, said last year. “We are not only countries of business and trade, but we also exchange visits between youth and education, and all these are important elements that we would like to increase in the economic side.

Wednesday’s approval was given after the committee examined the UAE’s trade and tourist industries, security and economy.

It is hoped the waiver will come into effect in the next few weeks, when the European Parliament is expected to vote on the visa-free resolution, Mr Al Mazrouei said.

The UAE joins a list of 15 countries around the world, including South America and the Caribbean, whose citizens will benefit from the waiver.