* Medvedev expects euro zone situation to improve
* Bemoans difficulties for Russian firms in France
* Doesn't rule out re-examining Russia's 5 pct EADS stake
By John Irish
PARIS, Nov 27 Russia has no plans to switch
euro-denominated foreign exchange reserves into other currencies
as Moscow believes the euro zone situation will improve, Prime
Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday.
Russia's central bank has the world's fourth-largest
currency reserves, and as of January this year 42 percent were
held in euros and 45 percent in U.S. dollars, with the rest in
currencies like sterling, yen and Canadian dollars.
Speaking during a visit to Paris, Medvedev said he had every
intention of maintaining the proportion of euros as he was
confident the euro zone would find a way out of its debt crisis.
"We have no intention of reallocating them ... Despite the
problems (in the euro zone) we think it will get better," he
told a joint news conference with French Prime Minister
The comments came after euro zone finance ministers and the
International Monetary Fund agreed to reduce Greece's debt,
which removes the biggest risk of a sovereign default in the
euro zone for now.
Russia's central bank has signalled in the past that it
could diversify its forex reserves by adding other currencies
such as the Australian dollar, which would mean changing the
respective shares of the other assets it holds.
In May, however, Medvedev told Russia's partners in the
Group of Eight industrialised nations that it would not reduce
its share of euro reserves as it did not want to send the wrong
signal about the situation in Europe.
Russian gold and forex reserves stood at $522.2 billion last
"Russia is strongly linked to the European Union and so it's
in our interest to have a stable Europe," he said speaking
through an interpreter.
Medvedev also met French President Francois Hollande after
seeing Ayrault, the first meeting of an intergovernmental
commission since President Vladimir Putin and Hollande assumed
office in May and Medvedev and Ayrault took up their posts.
BETTER TIES, EADS STAKE
The meeting aimed to improve relations between the
countries. Medvedev has accused France of setting up
administrative barriers for Russian investors, often viewed in
the West with suspicion over the origins of money earned during
a wave of controversial privatisations in the 1990s.
He said there was a huge imbalance in the amount of money
each country was investing into the other. France had poured
about 9 billion euros in 2011 into Russia, versus just 130
million euros worth of Russian investments into France.
"We must do everything to ensure that business is reciprocal
between our countries," he said.
One area that could interest Moscow was increasing its
five-percent stake in Europe's largest aerospace group EADS
The ownership structure has been in the spotlight since the
planned merger with BAE Systems drew a veto from
Germany and sped up efforts by Berlin to play a more direct role
in EADS, matching that of France.
Medvedev did not rule out examining its stake in the future.
"It's a subject that can be discussed," he said, adding that
those involved would have to see how the structure evolves.
Russia, through a state-owned bank, is the largest single
investor outside the core group of European Union countries that
control the firm.
In 2006, when it bought the stake, there were concerns it
might seek a seat on the board, a move seen as unacceptable by
Paris and Berlin, which are both keen to ensure the firm is not
vulnerable to outside influence.