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19 Mar, 2012 18:47

‘Schengen outdated, Euro-Russia zone the future’ – French president’s envoy

A Russian-European common economic space should become a new world reality in the nearest future, believes Jean-Pierre Thomas, France’s presidential envoy for French-Russian Relations.

“To be honest, the Schengen zone is not working very well,” Thomas told RT. “If you want my opinion now, it is the problem of the past because what we have to do now [is] we have to have a union – including Russia – and to suppress visas on the European continent. The problem is not Schengen. The problem is to have a unique visa zone integrating Russia too.” Europe is now in dire need of finding new alliances, and Russia could become its best partner, the envoy believes. “We need to find growth. To find growth we need a new strategy, new alliances,” Thomas said. “Here in Russia you have raw materials, you also have a high level of education, and you need to succeed in the modernization plan wanted by Vladimir Putin and Mr. Medvedev. If we build together a Euro-Russian economic zone, we will find growth again. This economic zone will be very competitive around the world, as much as ASEAN.” It is France, Germany and Russia which need to come up with the proposal of the new alliance, Thomas believes. The Europe-Russia treaty could come in three to five years, he added.  As for the situation in Syria, Thomas expressed his personal opinion saying that military intervention is not a solution. “The solution is to convince and to have international pressure,” he said. “Everybody agreed: China, Russia, France, the United States of America to try with the diplomacy. It is on the way.” The Syrian population "has to solve the problems themselves,” Thomas added. “If not – the solution is artificial and in a few years it will not work.”