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French politicians back visa-free travels between Russia and EU

July 16, 2013, 17:16 UTC+3

This was told by Russian upper house’s international affairs committee Mikhail Margelov after talks with French colleagues

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Mikhail Margelov, Photo ITAR-TASS

Mikhail Margelov, Photo ITAR-TASS

PARIS, July 16 (Itar-Tass) - France welcomes the idea to lift visa requirements for travels between Russia and the European Union, and French politicians continue efforts towards this reform, visiting chairman of the Russian upper house’s international affairs committee Mikhail Margelov told Tass commenting on the results of his talks with French colleagues.

According to Margelov, French Foreign Ministry’s special envoy for relations with Russia, Senator Jean Pierre Chevenement, is an active supporter of visa-free travels between Russia and the European Union. He once again backed this initiative earlier on Tuesday at a meeting of Russian parliamentarians with French Senate speaker Jean-Pierre Bel.

“France supports cancellation of visa requirements between Russia and the European Union, but the root of the problem is not in Paris, but in Brussels, in EU bureaucracy,” the Russian senator said. “French politicians, for their part, will continue actively influencing this matter,” he added.

He said French colleagues had drawn attention at the meeting to the fact that French business is getting active in Russian regions, and on the whole French parliamentarians agree that French-Russian relations “need to achieve a new level”. “The Senate’s speaker said that Russian investments must also be more actively involved in the French economy,” Margelov added. “Representatives from the upper house also stressed that France must more actively join modernization processes underway in Russia, and support Putin’s strategy towards the modernization development of our country”.

Last year France became the first western country that introduced the position of a special representative for relations with Russia. Renowned politician, Senator Jean-Pierre Chevenement, was entrusted with this task. One of the most experienced politicians, he was also the head of the defense and interior ministries. Senator from the Territory of Belfort since 2008, Chevenement enjoys big influence in the ruling Socialist Party.

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