The Maldives and the Netherlands have discussed ways to ease the procedures for Schengen Visa applications for the Maldivians who wish to visit the Schengen Area.
During a meeting held between the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment and Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Karien van Gennip and the Vice President of Maldives, Hussain Mohamed Latheef, the facilitation of visa procedures was brought up.
The two officials discussed in length about areas of mutual cooperation, and focused their talks about the measures that can be taken to facilitate the process of obtaining the Schengen visa.
Despite this, Gennip has not made any official statements regarding the matter yet.
The two also touched upon other topics, mainly on cooperation in the field of tourism and trade. The two also, on behalf of their respective governments, pledged to strengthen the existing relationship between the two countries.
Maldives has been seeking Schengen visa facilitation for years now. In December 2022, Maldives authorities called on the European Union to lift the Schengen visa requirements and allow visa-free entry for Maldivians.
The then Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid said that this requirement should be dropped without further delay.
Last year, EU officials applauded the commitment of Maldives government to protect human rights, consolidate democratic governance, strengthen the rules of law, and implement reforms.
Additionally, EU officials further reaffirmed their support for Maldives’ endeavors and emphasized the importance of reforms.
Although the Maldives has discussed the Schengen visa matter with the Dutch authorities, the Netherlands cannot take a decision on its own regarding the visa facilitation, but rather has to be decided jointly by the Schengen Member States, who agree with it as well.
The Schengen Area is an area comprising of 27 European countries that have officially abolished passports and several other types of border control at their mutual borders. Of the 27 EU member states, 23 participate in the Schengen Area. Of the four EU member states that are not part of the Schengen Area, three – Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania – are legally obligated to join the area in the future while Ireland maintains an opt-out and operates its own visa policy.