Oman and EU discuss potential Schengen visa waiver amid travel delays

Sultanate in talks with bloc over opening of EU office in Muscat

Enrique Mora, Deputy Secretary-General European Union, visited Oman on Tuesday. Photo: Oman News Agency
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High-ranking officials from Oman and the European Union held talks on Tuesday on a potential Schengen visa waiver for Omani citizens and the opening of an EU office in Muscat.

Enrique Mora, the bloc's deputy secretary general for political affairs, said during a visit to the Gulf state that “within two weeks the EU will approve the entry of the Sultanate of Oman into negotiations aimed at exempting Omani citizens from the Schengen visa”.

Mr Mora said negotiations between the EU and the GCC were continuing in the fields of free trade, security and technology.

"The EU looks forward to increasing co-operation with these countries," he said.

Omani residents who are planning visits to Europe can wait up to two months to obtain their Schengen visas, making it extremely difficult to plan journeys, local media has reported.

Mr Mora praised Oman’s "historic role" and its efforts in resolving many regional and international issues, especially with regard to the Iranian nuclear file.

“Oman is an increasingly relevant regional player and a key EU interlocutor,” he said.

“We also talked about the bilateral questions that were looming and we are looking forward to increasing our political dialogues."

Oman’s Sheikh Khalifa bin Ali Al Harthy, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Diplomatic Affairs, said relations between his country and the EU were “developing and growing”.

“The Sultanate welcomes the European partnership strategy with the countries of the Co-operation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf and looks forward to strengthening relations in various fields,” he said.

The EU has expressed interest in green energy and hydrogen, the Omani official said. Muscat was looking to "diversify its income", he said.

"It can be done through renewable energy, which is very important and is a big part of the Oman 2040 vision," he said. "The Sultanate also seeks to benefit from the experience of the European Union in the aspect of diversifying sources of income."

Mr Mora said the EU was seeking alternatives to liquefied gas and prospects for co-operation in green energy.

Updated: June 07, 2022, 4:07 PM