Shahid: Hoping more EU members waiver visa mandates for Maldivian travelers

Maldivian Foreign Minister and President of the 76th UNGA, Abdulla Shahid. (Photo/Xinhua)

Maldivian Foreign Minister, President of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (PGA) Abdulla Shahid has stated that he hopes more member countries of the European Union (EU) waiver visa mandates for Maldivian travelers in light of the elevated EU-Maldives relations.

Minister Shahid had made the remark in a video message delivered during the ceremony held to mark ‘Europe Day’ for the first time in the Maldives by EU.  

The ceremony was attended by Vice President Faisal Naseem, EU’s Ambassador to Maldives Denis Chaibi, cabinet ministers and other senior government officials.

In his video message, Minister Shahid had underscored the establishment of VFS Global Visa Facilitation Center in Malé City in 2020 had streamlined the process for Maldivians wishing to obtain Schengen visa to travel to Europe.

Extending gratitude to the governments of Germany, Czech Republic, Austria and Italy for joining VFS office in facilitating Schengen visa service – he invited additional members of the EU to parner with VFS Global for the provision of the service in the Maldives.

He also stressed he remains hopeful the European countries will soon waiver visa mandates for Maldivian travelers in light of the improved EU-Maldives relations.

Speaking further, Minister Shahid extended gratitude for all the assistance rendered by EU to the Maldives during the COVID-19 pandemic particularly naming the EUR 1 million granted for the health sector and EUR 2 million granted for tourism sector.

He noted that the grant assistance allowed Maldives to combat the pandemic whilst reviving the economy simultaneously.

Minister Shahid expressed further gratitude for EUR 40 million assistance provided by European Investment Bank to support economic resilience.

Minister Shahid also underscored EU as an essential trading partner for the Maldives as it is one of the main markets for Maldivian fisheries exports and the leading tourism market for Maldives comprising 70 percent of our tourist arrival share.