Exclusive: Qatari nationals granted visa-free entry to European Schengen Zone

Shiva Singh

Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The European Parliament has given granted Qatari nationals the right to enter Europe with visa-free entry. European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs has voted 42 in favor of Qatar with only 16 MEPs opposing. This new step comes as the country is halfway through organizing the World Cup 2022.

The entry of Qatar to the Schengen zone Is granted following a detailed assessment of irregular migration, public policy and security, economic benefits, and the Union’s relations with Qatar.

Observers note that Qatar’s reforms to human rights and migrant workers in addition to the benefit of bilateral relations particularly to the European side; were the key to making this decision. Qatar has abolished the Kafala System and applied International Labour Organisation standards and granted migrant workers minimum wage.

Meanwhile, Kuwait nationals were not granted the same privileges as they did not meet the standards of the European Union in respect of human rights and capital punishment. Therefore, the discussion on Kuwait has been adjourned until the country meet the basic standards.

Once the EU Council approves the proposal, Qatar nationals will be able to travel to all EU Member States for short stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period for business, tourism, and family purposes, exempted from visa application requirements.

Previously the European Commission has proposed the abolishment of visa requirements for Qatar and Kuwait nationals, pointing out that these countries have already met the necessary criteria.

Brussels Morning Middle East analysts suggest that this approval is a “victory” for Qatari active diplomacy. Whilst, Qatar was undergoing massive pre and during organizing the World Cup 2022; this key European decision proves that the country has won the trust of European nations.

The analysts note that the anti-Qatar World Cup 2022 campaign failed in changing the public opinion of Europe particularly the decision-making circles. Despite the massive smearing attacks on the country, Qatar now is considered a very strategic partner to the EU. The decision to be exempt from the Schengen for Qatar, without any preconditions, is only the subject of the annual dialogue and periodic assessment of the human rights situation.

However, Kuwait set preconditions for them, which are as follows:

Before concluding the bilateral agreement on visa waiver between the EU and Kuwait, the Commission must re-evaluate Kuwait’s fulfillment of the criteria set out in Article 1 of this regulation. The European Parliament will not give its consent to the conclusion of the EU-Kuwait Visa Waiver Agreement in the absence of a re-evaluation by the Commission.

The commencement of negotiations on the bilateral visa waiver agreement between the EU and Kuwait must be subject to Kuwait’s approval of a moratorium on the application of the death penalty.

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Shiva is a professional digital marketer who covers the latest updates in the tech industry from across the globe. With an experience of over 5 years in the world of Information Technology, he likes to keep up with every major development and writes fact-based pieces backed by in-depth research.