07.06.2024, 10:01 46681

Steps to strengthen multifaceted cooperation between Kazakhstan and EU outlined in Brussels

Steps to strengthen multifaceted cooperation between Kazakhstan and EU outlined in Brussels
Images | Kazakh MFA
Roman Vassilenko, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, has taken part in the 21st meeting of the Republic of Kazakhstan - European Union Cooperation Committee (CC), press service of the Kazakh MFA reports.

Luc Devigne, Deputy Managing Director for Russia, Eastern Partnership, Central Asia and OSCE of the European External Action Service (EEAS) co-chaired the meeting on behalf of the European Union. Representatives of Kazakh line ministries and departments, as well as representatives of various directorates-general of the European Commission attended the event.

During the meeting, a detailed review of the implementation of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA) between Kazakhstan and the EU and its member states as well as the agreements reached during the visit of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to Brussels on November 25-26, 2021, took place.

The main issues of discussion were political, trade and economic cooperation, transport, energy, education, science, environmental protection, and strategies to deal with the challenges posed by climate change as well as interaction in the areas of the rule of law and human rights.

Within the framework of political cooperation, the parties appreciated the positive dynamics of exchange of these meetings at the highest levels. The Deputy Minister affirmed that Kazakhstan attaches great importance to the rule of law and human rights, and that these are priority areas of cooperation between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the EU.

In this context, he informed his European counterparts in detail about the large-scale political reforms of President Tokayev implemented in the country to build a Just and Fair Kazakhstan. The European side expressed support for the course of the country’s leadership towards political modernization and declared an intention to provide further support in these pathbreaking endeavors. In this regard, the European partners welcomed the adoption by the Parliament of Kazakhstan of the Law on Mass Media aimed at further development and enhancement of the media in the country.

Pertaining to human rights issues, the importance of intensifying inter-parliamentary cooperation was noted. The Kazakh side voiced its intention to participate in training seminars in its process of modernizing and strengthening its national law enforcement agencies.

Particular attention during the meeting was paid to the issue of the EU visa facilitation for citizens of Kazakhstan. Mentioning the unilateral steps of Kazakhstan towards European countries to introduce a visa-free regime and the integrity of the people of Kazakhstan visiting EU countries, Roman Vassilenko noted the Kazakh society is waiting for appropriate measures to make it easier to obtain Schengen visas. He expressed hope this issue will be resolved in the near future.

He noted the European Union is the main trade and investment partner of Kazakhstan. The EU accounts for about 30 percent of Kazakhstan’s foreign trade and 40 percent of accumulated foreign direct investment. He emphasized the positive dynamics in the economic, trade and investment spheres, despite geopolitical challenges.

The Kazakh diplomat also noted the importance of preventing negative consequences on trade and economic relations between the parties in light of the EU restrictive measures on Russia. He emphasized the need for diversification in the field of trade by expanding the export of Kazakh products, in particular, agricultural products, to EU countries. The European side again assured the sanctions are not directed against Kazakhstan. The EU support was also voiced regarding access by Kazakh products to the European market.

The Kazakh side drew attention to the importance of intensifying cooperation in the field of green energy within the framework of the EU’s Green Deal Strategy, as well as the implementation of the Road Map for 2023-2024 on the implementation of the Kazakhstan - EU Memorandum of Understanding on Strategic Partnership in the field of the sustainable raw materials, batteries and renewable hydrogen value chains signed in November 2022. At the meeting, they also discussed cooperation in combating climate change, in particular, the plans of the Government of Kazakhstan to achieve carbon neutrality in 2060.

During the discussion of transport issues, the European side confirmed the interest of the European Investment Bank and other EU financial institutions in investing in the development of the transit and transport industry of Kazakhstan and the region, including the development of the so-called Central Trans-Caspian Transport Network traversing southern Kazakhstan, the Middle Corridor, as well as the potential alignment of Kazakhstan’s transport infrastructure with the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T).

An equally important topic of discussion at the meeting was the interaction between Kazakhstan and the EU within the framework of the EU Strategy for Central Asia and the Global Gateway initiative.

The parties expressed satisfaction with the level of cooperation in the Central Asia - EU format and discussed ways of high-quality implementation of the Joint Road Map for Deepening Ties between Central Asia and the EU adopted on October 23, 2023, in Luxembourg and the preparation of a number of other upcoming events in 2024. Issues of regional security, sustainable development, environmental protection and the development of civil society were identified as important areas.

Overall, the regular meeting of Kazakhstan - EU Cooperation Committee have made it possible to conduct a thorough exchange of views and outline specific steps for further implementation of EPCA, as well as to carry out preparatory work for the 21st meeting of Kazakhstan-EU Cooperation Council at the level of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan and Hungary during the latter’s Presidency at the European Council, which should take place in October 2024.

For reference: The Cooperation Committee serves as a platform for a regular exchange of views and updates on the implementation of EPCA between Kazakhstan and the EU in areas of political developments, rule of law, good governance, human rights protection, etc.

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