Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said in Athens following a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras: “In the coming weeks, the European Union is expected to make an important decision on the expansion of the list of countries that are granted visa-free access to the Schengen Area.
“For over two years, the Government of Greece has publicly, and repeatedly, expressed its view that the UAE should be added to that visa-free list. We are grateful for that support,” he said.
Last year a proposal was tabled to allow UAE citizens visa-free access to the 26 countries that make up the Schengen Area. This was initially opposed by Austria, Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands, but Germany and The Netherlands reversed their stance.
While on a visit to Vienna this week for the opening of a new $9m building to house the UAE Embassy, Sheikh Abdullah also appealed to Austrian authorities to support the UAE’s bid for visa-free access for its citizens.
“The most important aspect of mutual friendship is enhancing the ease of movement between our two countries. Austrian citizens, along with most Europeans, are granted free 30-day visas upon arrival to the UAE. The UAE is asking that its citizens be granted similar access to the countries of the Schengen Area, in recognition of the excellent relations between the UAE and Europe, and of the significant economic contribution of Emirati activities on the continent,” he said.