EU ambassador applauds prospect of visa waiver deal with UAE
ABU DHABI // The first resident European Union ambassador to the UAE says a visa-waiver agreement between the EU and the Emirates would improve ties and cooperation.
Dr Mihai Stuparu, ambassador head-designate of the EU mission, arrived in Abu Dhabi at the end of October for a four-year tenure.
In the same month a committee of the European Parliament unanimously endorsed a proposal to allow UAE citizens visa-free entry to most of Europe.
The report was “a decision that paves the way for the conclusion of this very important bilateral agreement, hopefully at the beginning of next year”, Dr Stuparu said.
“I believe such an agreement to be not only an important bilateral instrument but also a very useful one, as it will significantly facilitate ties and cooperation between the EU and the UAE in all fields of mutual interest.”
He said the agreement would also constitute an important tool in building better cultural, social and traditional bridges between the EU and UAE.
“The endorsement by the European Parliament’s specialised commission of the proposal for a EU-UAE visa waiver bilateral agreement is a very important, positive step, to be followed by the endorsement of the European Council and the plenary vote of the European Parliament in January,” said Dr Stuparu.
“With these two formalities fulfilled, the bilateral agreement can be concluded.”
On his new position, he said: “I am both pleased and honoured to represent the EU in a friendly country with which Europe already upholds a very good cooperation.
“We share a lot of common goals and interests. I believe this is an important position from an EU perspective and I am looking forward to achieve, with the kind and substantial support of the UAE authorities, very good results, beneficial for both the EU and the UAE.”
Dr Stuparu plans to work in a range of areas including trade, finance, green and renewable energy, combating terrorism and cultural exchanges.
“The EU and the UAE can work together in a very good and efficient way,” he said.
“We are looking forward to supporting and developing the bilateral economic and trade cooperation between the EU and the UAE, inclusively from the perspective of the EU-GCC negotiation for a free-trade agreement.”
He said the Hedaya Centre in the UAE would play an important role in furthering the study of counter-terrorism, a “very actual and complex area of interest”.
Battling against piracy in the Horn of Africa is another area in which the parties could cooperate, securing one of the most important regional commercial maritime routes.
“Both the EU and the UAE are directly and substantially involved in providing humanitarian aid and assistance for development programmes in many countries,” said Dr Stuparu.
“Also, joint efforts for directly acting and providing support for processes of aid and stabilisation in several regional countries with very complex, difficult and even critical situations like Egypt and Syria.”
He said the potential of the EU-UAE relations was “much bigger than we might estimate it now and they will further develop and extend, registering a constant and positive growth”.
Dr Stuparu said: “I am very happy to be able to work in this environment as ambassador of the European Union.
“I would also like to congratulate the UAE on its National Day and Dubai for winning the Expo 2020.”
Updated: December 13, 2013 04:00 AM