Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid has requested the European Union (EU) to allow the Maldives to issue Schengen Visas for travel to more European countries. He made the request in a video message on the occasion of Europe Day.
In the video message on the occasion of Europe Day, Minister Shahid extended warm felicitations and good wishes to the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Borrell Fontelles and the members of the EU. The minister expressed gratitude to Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, and Italy for facilitating visa applications at VFS Global’s Schengen Visa application centre in the Maldives and expressed hope that Maldivians will soon be able to travel to countries in the EU without prior visa approval.
Furthermore, Minister Shahid said the partnership between the Maldives and the EU has continued to flourish over the past years, notably in the areas of climate change, counter-terrorism, judicial and anti-corruption reform, democratic consolidation, and human rights, among others. He said the generous financial and technical assistance provided to the Maldives by the EU to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts, stand as a strong testament to the strength of their enduring cooperation.
Additionally, Minister Shahid said the EU remains an essential trading partner for the Maldives, not only because it is one of the main markets for Maldivian fisheries exports, but because it is also the leading tourism market for the Maldives comprising 70% of the tourist arrival share. Therefore, he expressed hope that the strong relations between the Maldives and the EU will continue to prosper.