x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Expat workers 'need more protection'

But Dr Niebler said that growth of the UAE would have been impossible without the contributions of migrant workers.

DUBAI // More legislation is needed to protect expatriate workers in the UAE, a visiting delegation of European parliament members says.

Angelika Niebler, the head of the Delegation for Relations with the Arab Peninsula, said yesterday that on their tour of the country, the members had been impressed by the pace of the UAE's economic growth.

But Dr Niebler said that growth would have been impossible without the contributions of migrant workers.

"Every effort should be made to ensure better legislative protection for migrant workers," she said.

"We appreciate the efforts being made by the UAE to reconcile modernisation and tradition.

"However, as recognised by the authorities themselves, a lot more has to be done to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, and special attention should be paid to the conditions of migrant workers."

The seven-member delegation yesterday ended its visit to the UAE by meeting the Minister of State for Foreign and FNC Affairs, Dr Anwar Gargash.

The delegation has held talks with the FNC Speaker Mohammed Al Murr, FNC members, the Governor of the Central Bank Sultan Al Suwaidi, and Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

"The delegation's visit is part of our efforts to increase cooperation between the EU and the Gulf region," said Dr Niebler.

"We discussed the situation in the Middle East following the Arab Spring, the situation in Yemen, the continuing crisis in Syria and the GCC's active role in resolving the crises, as well as the Iranian issue."

Dr Niebler said the EU would fund programmes in the Gulf to promote better mutual understanding.

"We want to promote better mutual understanding between the people of the two regions with such initiatives," she said.

FNC members have been invited to visit Brussels. "We would like them to experience a European parliamentary session and meet various members," said Dr Niebler.

amustafa@thenational.ae