Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, Chairman of the Al Habtoor Group welcomed French Ambassador to the UAE, His Excellency Alain Azouaou, at the Group head office on Al Wasl Road on Wednesday, May 1.
The meeting was aimed at strengthening already good ties between the Al Habtoor Group and the French Ambassador. The two men discussed regional political issues, including the worsening situation in Syria.
They also talked about the improved economic situation in the United Arab Emirates and the increased number of French entrepreneurs coming to the country – particularly small and medium sized businesses.
Al Habtoor said, “It is encouraging to see an increase in French companies set up here. They understand the benefits our country has to offer. We are a global centre for innovation and encourage people to come here to take advantage of the benefits that are not seen anywhere else in the world.”
They also talked about the good progress made on the Schengen visas. The French Embassy in Abu Dhabi, one of the Schengen diplomatic missions, has already started recording biometrics of Schengen visa applicants. Applicants have to undergo biometric scans to record fingerprints and a facial image as part of the visa application. This new requirement is part of efforts to link the diplomatic missions of Schengen states with the Visa Information System (VIS) introduced by the European Commission.
Al Habtoor, “The French are taking the lead in the visa process and have made good progress in the UAE.” The Schengen took its name from the town of Schengen in Luxembourg, where it was signed for the purpose of ensuring the free movement of persons and goods between the member states.