Tighter rules on EU visas would hurt Dubai Inc.
OPINION: Changing the UAE’s open border policies in the wake of the Mossad assassination would have dire consequences for business.
February 23, 2010 5:27 by Ben Flanagan
“In a telephone conversation with [Ireland’s] Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin last Friday, [UAE foreign minister] Sheikh Abdullah highlighted the possible consequences of the breach of passport security. He told Mr Martin there was increasing pressure within the UAE to impose tighter visa conditions on EU visitors,” said the newspaper.
The Irish Times quoted Micheál Martin as saying: “If there were any restrictions or any curbing of the relatively easy access we now have to the UAE, it would obviously have an impact on Irish citizens and families who currently work there – people who are anxious to visit there and particularly those who are seeking opportunities there.”
A spokesman for Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that Martin had spoken with Sheikh Abdullah, but declined to comment on the specifics of the talks.
“While we do not disclose the details of such contacts with other governments we can confirm that the discussions were constructive. Minister Martin was pleased that the various issues involved in the investigation were in-turn discussed by EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels yesterday and that there was a clear EU-wide response to and appreciation of the concerns of the UAE authorities,” the spokesman told Kipp via email.
Mark Beer, chairman of the British Business Group in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, tells Kipp that “each country should be free to determine who may and may not enter, and on which terms”.
Beer adds: “The question is whether, by requiring a visa, it will prevent the use of forged passports and stolen identities by professional criminals? It might be argued that a move towards requiring a visa for European travelers will simply cause professional criminals to forge the passports of nations for which no visa regime exists? If the proposition is to require all visitors to the UAE to require a visa, is that a proportionate response to this criminal incident?”
Beers says that imposing entry restrictions would not affect business ties between the UK and the UAE.