Trade and economic cooperation was the main subject on the agenda, with discussions focused in particular on joint projects in high technology sectors. Russia and Italy are working together on projects in nuclear and electric power industry, which are implemented together with Italy’s Enel company. Russian companies are also working with Italy’s Finmeccanica conglomerate companies on the medium-haul Superjet 100 project, assembling AgustaWestland helicopters in Russia, and modernising Russia’s railways. Sollers company and FIAT are working together on projects in the automotive sector.
Trade figures for 2009 put Italy in fourth place among Russia’s trade partners (after the Netherlands, Germany and China). Trade between the two countries has grown steadily over recent years, reaching a record $52.9 billion in 2008. Bilateral trade fell somewhat with the effects of the economic crisis, but has since picked up again, rising more than 35 percent in the first half of 2010, compared to the same period last year.
International issues were also on the agenda at the talks, with the two leaders exchanging views on building a new European security architecture and Russia’s initiative to conclude a new pan-European security treaty, Russia’s relations with the European Union and NATO, the global financial crisis, energy security, the results of the G8 and G20 summits in Canada, the situation in Afghanistan and the Middle East, and Iran’s nuclear programme.
Mr Medvedev and Mr Berlusconi also touched on the subject of upgrading Russia-EU relations, in particular, the problems with introducing a visa-free regime.
Cultural cooperation was also an important discussion item at the talks. The two countries will organise cultural exchanges with the Year of Russian Language and Culture in Italy and the Year of Italian Language and Culture in Russia in 2011.
Mr Medvedev and Mr Berlusconi made press statements and answered questions from the media following the talks.