By Binsal Abdulkader
ABU DHABI, 28th November 2022 — The European Education Area, an initiative of the European Union Member States to build more resilient and inclusive national education and training systems, offers a potential multi-level cooperation between the European Union (EU) and the UAE, a top EU official told the Emirates News Agency (WAM).
It will open opportunities for Emirati youth to study in European Union, further strengthening the existing people-to-people ties, said Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission for “Promoting Our European Way of Life”, who was on an official trip to the UAE.
“This was one of the central elements of my discussions here. Because the European Union is gradually building a European Education area, a common area of mobility, supported by very substantial financing of mobility scholarships,” he explained.
In an exclusive interview with WAM in Abu Dhabi, he emphasised that the objective is to open the European Education Area to the world as well. “It is not only for us, but it is a beacon of what Europe stands for that can be shared with our partners across the world.”
As 2023 will be the European year of skills, this opens great opportunities for the Emirati youth to join in this process, the EC Vice President revealed.
Studying in Europe with EU scholarship
“So, I discussed with officials here and with youth organisations, the concrete avenues, concrete possibilities for opening up our education programme to the Emirati youth.”
Detailing the two aspects of potential cooperation, the EU official said, establishing avenues that would allow all young Emiratis who want to study part of their studies in the European Union is the first one. Doing it with a scholarship of the EU would broaden the horizons of the programme, he noted.
“At the same time, I also want to see the Emirati job market to benefit from our very substantial resources and initiatives that will be developing next year in the framework of the European year of skills. So, this can take a multi-level cooperation that brings us closer on education.”
Over 100,000 EU nationals’ contribution to UAE
The European Commission VP suggested that the EU and the UAE need to move to a more people-to-people cooperation, more anthropocentric cooperation, beyond the economic ties.
The UAE is an important partner of the EU, and a like-minded nation, Schinas stressed, adding that the EU and the UAE share certain common values.
“The testament to this convergence and proximity is the big number of EU nationals [over 100,000] that reside in this country, and they make a positive contribution to the UAE economy and society,” he said.
The UAE is the only country in the region that enjoys visa free travel to the European Union. “This is source of pride for your country. This is an accomplishment; this reflects the quality and the intensity of our partnership,” the official emphasised.
European Health Union
Asked about the latest updates on establishment of the European Health Union, the EU official said the recent approval of three regulations related to community agencies is an important development.
“We are building a new agency: European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA), which would help us anticipate any possible health threats and prepare for that.”
Schinas suggested that as the world is very complex, COVID-19 would not be the last pandemic. “So, we have to be ready and prepared.”
The EU also has one of the most aggressive plans to fight cancer, mobilising €4 billion in the next five years, he said. “We want Europe to be a pioneer in the world in finding solutions against this disease.”