Kazakhstan, EU conduct comprehensive review of topical issues of cooperation
LUXEMBOURG. KAZINFORM - Kazakhstan’s Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mukhtar Tileuberdi took part in the 19th meeting of the Republic of Kazakhstan – European Union Cooperation Council. Catherine Colonna, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, which holds the presidency of the EU Council, led the European side at the talks, Kazinform cites the press service of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry.
The implementation of the agreements reached during the official visit of President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to Brussels in November 2021, as well as the progress of large-scale political and economic reforms in the country were in the focus of attention.
Minister Tileuberdi informed the European counterparts about the results of the recent nationwide referendum on amendments and additions to the nation’s Constitution, calling it the most important element of the ongoing reforms in Kazakhstan, «aimed at deep democratization and modernization of the political system of the country and building a New Kazakhstan.» He also acquainted the European side with the course of the investigation of the tragic January events of.
In turn, Minister Colonna positively assessed the changes taking place in Kazakhstan, stressing the country was a reliable partner for the EU in Central Asia, further constructive cooperation with which has great potential on a wide range of issues.
The parties discussed in detail the implementation of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between Kazakhstan and the EU (EPCA) with a focus on priority areas such as the transition to a green economy, trade and investment, energy, agriculture, transport and logistics, climate change, education and science, etc.
The Kazakh minister noted the upcoming 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Kazakhstan and the EU, and invited the European leadership to visit Kazakhstan at a time of convenience. He stressed the importance of maintaining positive dynamics of economic relations. In this regard, the parties exchanged views on ways to prevent the unintended impact on Kazakh companies of the EU sanctions in connection with the conflict in Ukraine.
During the talks, the parties expressed interest in deepening mutually advantageous partnerships in the field of renewable energy sources, in particular, the establishment of cooperation in mining and processing of rare-earth metals and production of green hydrogen. In view of the disruption of global commodity supply chains, the importance of establishing additional routes was noted. Particular attention was paid to the transport and logistics potential of Kazakhstan, in particular the linking of the EU’s new Global Gateway program with the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route.
The European Union is currently the largest trade partner for Kazakhstan with a total trade turnover of $29 billion. In the first four months of this year alone, this figure amounted to $12.6 billion, a 28% growth compared to the same period last year.
The volume of foreign direct investment from the EU countries in the Kazakh economy in 2021 amounted to $10.1 billion. This is 24.3% higher than in the previous year. The main investments came from companies in such European countries as the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Cyprus, Luxembourg and Germany.
In the field of education and science, the parties discussed the prospects for further assistance from the EU in strengthening the capacity of Kazakh youth through their involvement in the academic and scientific exchange programs Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe.
No less important issue in the framework of the EPCA implementation is the facilitation of the visa regime for the Kazakh citizens visiting the EU countries. Tileuberdi stressed this issue is one of the priorities of cooperation with the EU and expressed hope negotiations with European partners on visa liberalization would start soon.
As part of the exchange of views on topical issues of the international agenda, special attention was paid to the joint efforts of the international community to resolve the conflict in Ukraine. In addition, the parties touched upon the current issues of cooperation in the implementation of EU strategies on Central Asia and the connectivity between Europe and Asia, as well as the problems of regional security, including the situation in Afghanistan.
Following the conclusion of the event, ministers Tileuberdi and Colonna held a joint press conference.