The two countries could share a common security plan rather than build up defense against each other, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in St Petersburg Saturday.
"The idea that Russia should protect itself from Europe and that Europe should protect itself from Russia is a thing from the far past," Sarkozy said at the International Economic Forum, quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency.
"We must believe that we are fighting against the same threats," he said, adding that Europe and Russia must jointly fight terrorism and mafia.
"A new organization that would unite Europe and Russia on a large-scale economic space is needed," where people are allowed to move freely and we could jointly organize our security, in particular using the suggestions that were made by President Medvedev," Sarkozy said.
Medvedev announced his initiative to draw up a new pan-European security pact in May 2008, and the first draft was presented by the Kremlin in November 2009. It received responses from more than 20 governments.
Russia and France believe it is too early to calm down over the positive tendencies in the world economy as a number of key problems that led to the global crisis have not been resolved, the Russian president said.
After the talks with President Sarkozy, Medvedev said "We spoke of how to coordinate our positions in Canada (at the G8 and G20 summits in late June). We proceed from the following: we cannot yet calm down, we need to move," the Russian President told journalists.
"We cannot relax thinking that we have overcome the crisis and everything ahead us is quiet and clear," he said, adding that some negative events could still happen although Europe has partly recovered from the crisis.
"This moves us toward holding dialogue with Europe... and coordinating positions. We are convinced that Russia and France will have an active position at G20," Medvedev said.
"We will keep defending the idea of reforming international financial institutions. We have done something but far from all," he said.
Sarkozy said: "We probably do not have 100% similar positions regarding taxation or banks, but we have a common strategy... We need to learn the lesson of the crisis."
Medvedev said at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg on Saturday that Russia is concerned over the currency fluctuation rate of the euro and hopes that the European currency will stabilize soon.
He said Russia's concern over the euro is tied to the fact that many Russians have their savings in euros and that Russia uses the euro as a reserve currency fund.
The two presidents watched as a raft of agreements on cooperation in the oil and gas, space and transport industries were signed in St Petersburg.
The documents included the Declaration on a Russian-French Energy Efficiency Centre, a Memorandum on mutual understanding between Gazprom, ENI and EDF, the Contract between Roskosmos and Arianespace on lifting off of Soyuz ST launch vehicles and the Guinean space centre.
Also signed were the Memorandum on cooperation between the administration of the Tomsk Region and the French company Veolia Voda and the Memorandum on mutual understanding between the Holding of Inter-Regional Distribution Grid Companies and Electricite Rezeau Distribution France as well as the tripartite Treaty on launching joint production of freight and passenger electric trains in Kazakhstan as well as the Protocol on building a multifunctional complex Hermitage Plaza in Paris.
Earlier in the day, the French and Russian sides signed the Supplement to the final Agreement of Nord Stream AG stockholders, providing for accession of Gas de France Suez to the Nord Stream project. Gas de France Suez chief Gerard Mestrallet reported that the French company would join the project with a share of nine percent.
The contract between Roskosmos and Arianespace provides for a delivery of additional Russian Soyuz carriers for the Kourou cosmodrome, with the sum of the contract totalling 16.6 billion roubles, Roskosmos head Anatoly Perminov told Itar-Tass on Sunday.
“We shall have to deliver additionally ten Soyuzes for firings from the Kourou cosmodrome in French Guiana,” Perminov said, specifying that part of carriers are to be delivered by 2014; deliveries are to be made a year before a supposed launching.
According to Perminov, the duration of the contract is not pegged to years, but depends on the number of firings.He emphasised that the main thing is this issue is manifestation of confidence by foreign investors in Russian goods.
Arianespace chief Jean-Yves Le Gall told Itar-Tass that it had been planned initially to make 14 blast-offs of Soyuz ST launch vehicles, but a decision was taken later on purchasing an additional ten carriers. “All in all, we plan to make 24 launches,” Le Gall added. He confirmed that the first launch of a Russian Soyuz ST from the Kourou cosmodrome would be made late this year.
French utility Electricite de France, EDF, said Saturday it has agreed with Russia's OAO Gazprom and Italy's ENI to take a stake of no less than 10% in the South Stream gas pipeline project. Under a memorandum of understanding signed by the three companies, Eni--currently a 49% shareholder in the project--will lower its stake in the project, while Gazprom will keep a controlling 51% stake.
The South Stream project is planned to cross the Black Sea, while the Gazprom-led Nord Stream gas pipeline is being built under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany.
“It is a good achievement,” GDF Chief Executive Officer Gerard Mestrallet said before the signing ceremony attended by Presidents Medvedev Sarkozy.
EDF may gain as much as 20 percent in South Stream, Gazprom Chief Executive Officer Alexei Miller told reporters.BASF SE’s Wintershall AG unit and E.ON Ruhrgas AG had agreed to sell 4.5 percent stakes in Nord Stream to GDF Suez, lowering their shares to 15.5 percent each. Gazprom holds 51 percent in the venture, Nederlandse Gasunie NV has 9 percent.
The price for the stake isn’t “significant,” while it is “above 10 million,” GDF Vice President Jean-Francois Cirelli said in April, without specifying euros or dollars.
Total is looking into the possibility of joint projects with LUKOIL in Russia, Christophe de Margerie, Chief Executive of the French oil major, told Reuters.
"(There) may be some other projects with LUKOIL," he said. "We have a lot of things in hand. I cannot tell you more about it."
President Medvedev wants the forum -- the country's biggest annual gathering of domestic and global financial newsmakers -- to promote his drive to modernise the economy and move away from dependency on natural resources.
However, oil has remained in the spotlight both in and outside of the forum as it is a key sector for major deals involving Russian companies.
Total is already involved in several Russian projects, including part-ownership of the Kharyaga oil field on the Arctic Yamal Peninsula and a partnership with Russian gas producer Novatek.
Some of the groundwork for this weekend's deals were prepared by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during a visit to Paris ten days ago.
Putin and President Sarkozy agreed that a pending deal to build four French Mistral-class warships for Russia's navy would be a "50-50" project, according to Sarkozy's office. The project would be the largest military deal between a NATO country and Moscow.
Sarkozy insisted in his talks with Putin that the sale is a "political signal" more than a purely commercial deal, an effort to keep Russia engaged with the West, according to Sarkozy's office.
Both sides are still working out how much of the ships will be built in France and how much in Russia — a key question, given the many jobs that would create.
Russia's industry minister, Viktor Khristenko, told The Associated Press that "it would be better to bring the construction to Russia" as soon as possible — and he said he wants to eventually expand cooperation with France to include joint submarine, fighter jet or other manufacturing.
Putin, who has boosted Russia's economic ties with Germany and Italy, has been increasingly focusing attention on France in recent years.
At a Paris exhibit showcasing Russia's industrial might, Putin told guests that it was time to "deepen our cooperation," and encouraged oil giant Total SA to "expand your activity in Russia."
"You can count on us," Total Chairman Christophe de Margerie answered.
De Margerie said his company had submitted a bid for between 20 and 25 percent of the Yamal gas field in cooperation with Russian company Novatek, and that he was discussing the bid with Putin. "I am always optimistic. If we don't think we have a good chance to win, we don't make a bid," he told reporters.
French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said he wanted to "further develop" trade with Russia, and ended a speech at the trade show by saying: "Vive la Russie!"
Around him stood a full-size Russian attack helicopter, mock satellites, nuclear energy officials plugging their expertise, and four-story-high Russian nesting dolls, matryoshkas.