New EU Strategy for Central Asia will open vast horizons of cooperation with the European Union in a regional format
ASTANA, February 22, 2019 – “Kazakhstan attaches great importance to the development of a constructive and trustful dialogue in the format of the European Union – Central Asia. Today, the European Union is our reliable partner, contributing to the prosperity and unity of the countries of Central Asia, ”- said today. Beibut Atamkulov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, at a meeting with Peter Burian, European Union Special Representative for Central Asia.
The visit of the EU Special Representative to Kazakhstan was held on the eve of the adoption of the new EU Strategy for Central Asia in order to coordinate its priorities with the countries of the region. Over the past two years, Kazakhstan, along with its neighbors in the region, has actively participated in the preparation of the document, presenting ideas and proposals for quality content.
P. Burian thanked the Kazakh side for the constructive proposals on the content of the new Strategy, the effective implementation of which is in the interests of all parties involved.
The meeting emphasized the importance of taking into account in the Strategy being developed such areas as human capital development, ensuring the rule of law and high-quality public administration, developing small and medium-sized businesses, universal digitalization, developing transport and logistics infrastructure, improving energy efficiency, green technologies, environmental protection, rational water use and safety.
Paying key attention to the implementation mechanism of the future Strategy, Acting The Minister voiced a number of specific proposals aimed at ensuring the effective implementation of development projects and the use of resources. Considering that the European Union conducts significant regional project activities aimed at assisting the Central Asian countries in development, there was a wish to preserve the scope of EU project activities in the region within the framework of the new Strategy.
One of the promising areas of cooperation with the EU is expected to be the launch in the current year of a joint program of training Afghan girls in secondary special and higher educational institutions of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan at the expense of the EU. The parties agreed that the educational project will contribute to the improvement of the situation of women and children in Afghanistan, as well as to resolve the situation in this country as a whole.
Considering the topic of regional cooperation, the interlocutors noted the political and economic processes in Central Asia, which in recent years have been characterized by high dynamics and open up new prospects for interaction across the whole spectrum of mutually beneficial partnership.
As part of the discussion of bilateral cooperation between the RK-EU, the Special Representative P. Burian was informed about Kazakhstan’s intention to develop a dialogue in order to deepen trade and economic cooperation, increase Kazakhstan’s exports, attract European investment in priority sectors of the economy, facilitate the EU visa regime for our citizens.
In this regard, this year is expected the entry into force of the Agreement on Extended Partnership and Cooperation between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the European Union (SRPS), which will open new niches of bilateral cooperation in many areas of cooperation of mutual interest.
And about. The Minister also familiarized the interlocutor with the new tasks of the foreign policy department to strengthen the economic component of the foreign policy of Kazakhstan on the principles of pragmatism. In particular, it was noted that, in the European vector, Kazakhstan, first of all, aims to deepen trade, economic and investment cooperation.
In 2018, trade amounted to $ 37.7 billion, the total amount of foreign direct investment attracted to the economy of Kazakhstan in the first half of 2018, reached a mark of $ 12.3 billion. Today, 24 investment projects are being implemented in Kazakhstan with the participation of European companies in the amount of about $ 3 billion. The EU retains leadership among the trading partners of Kazakhstan with a share of about 50% in the total volume of trade. It was noted the need not only to maintain these volumes, but also to work on increasing them.
At the end of the meeting, the interlocutors discussed a rich schedule of upcoming events in the EU-Central Asia in 2019.
The negotiations were held in a trustful and traditionally friendly atmosphere, inherent in the level of strategic relations established between Kazakhstan and the European Union.
The visit program of P. Burian also included meetings with the leadership of the relevant committees of the Senate and the Majilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Republic of Kazakhstan