x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

UAE Foreign Minister to discuss visa-free travel for Emiratis

Sheikh Abdullah will discuss the achievements made regarding Emiratis travelling overseas without the requirement of visas.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and head of the National Media Council, will meet with the Federal National Council on Tuesday to discuss the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ progress in securing visa-free entry for Emiratis to the Schengen area of Europe. Silvia Razgova / The National
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and head of the National Media Council, will meet with the Federal National Council on Tuesday to discuss the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ progress in securing visa-free entry for Emiratis to the Schengen area of Europe. Silvia Razgova / The National

ABU DHABI // Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs, is due to appear before the FNC next week to explain what has been achieved regarding visa-free entry for Emiratis to overseas countries.

Marwan bin Ghalita (Dubai) will ask Sheikh Abdullah on Tuesday about a 2006 Cabinet decision that instructed his ministry to push for the removal of visa requirements for 34 countries whose citizens were granted this right by the UAE.

“I have received a lot of complaints from citizens on the difficulty of obtaining a visa for some countries, and request the results of the ministry’s own performance in this regard,” Mr bin Ghalita said.

He said that as a representative of the people, he planned to ask Sheikh Abdullah what had been achieved – if not with visa-free entry, then at least in “fast delivery and good treatment” of Emiratis’ visa applications.

Mr bin Ghalita said it was important for nationals to be kept updated as they planned their summer holidays.

“I’m very confidant that Sheikh Abdullah will give his full support for this issue and will update us at the FNC,” he said.

Over the past year the UAE has increased efforts to win visa-free entry to the Schengen area of Europe.

In February, Sheikh Abdullah Al Hamed, under secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said diplomatic talks with the European Union had been going on for more than a year.

While many of the states in Schengen – a group of 26 countries in western Europe – have expressed support for the request, it was up to the European Commission and EU Parliament to make the decision.

Last month in Belgium, Sheikh Abdullah Al Hamed called for Emiratis to be given a 30-day visit visa on entry, as EU citizens are when they arrive in the UAE.

Also at Tuesday’s session, Rashed Al Sheraiqi (Ras Al Khaimah) will ask Suhail Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy, about the country’s long-term strategy to provide water and electricity services.

Mr Al Sheraiqi said water and electricity infrastructure were struggling to keep pace with the UAE’s fast economic growth.

Ali Al Nuaimi (Ajman) will ask the Minister of Labour, Saqr Ghobash, about foreign labourers touting work on the street.

Mr Al Nuaimi will also ask Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, as the head of the National Media Council, about the regulation of classified advertisements.

In the second half of the session, the education, youth, media and culture committee will read out a report on the media council’s policies and media laws for debate with Sheikh Abdullah.

The council committee began considering the media laws in February last year and completed its report almost a year ago.

The session will be open to the public and starts at 9am at the FNC headquarters in Abu Dhabi.

osalem@thenational.ae