Dubai, Dec 15: The EU has put the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the first Arab state, along with 18 others on a list of nations whose citizens are exempted from visas for a visit to the Schengen area, it said in a statement Saturday.
The EU Council of ministers will now enter negotiations with the European Parliament in order to adopt the decision early next year, Xinhua cited from the statement.
Meanwhile, the UAE has in a next step to conclude a bilateral visa waiver agreement with the EU.
The Gulf Arab state in recent years upgraded its relations with the EU. The trade between the 28 members of the EU states and the UAE rose in 2012 by 9.7 percent year-on-year and hit 45.4 billion Euros ($62.35 billion), according to the EU data.
On Monday, Britain, which is not a member of the Schengen accord, said that citizens of the UAE no longer needed a visa for visits less than six months to its country.