B. Atamkulov: EU Strategy for Central Asia opens new opportunities for cooperation with the EU in regional format
ASTANA, “Kazakhstan attaches great importance to the development of a constructive and confidential dialogue in the European Union – Central Asia format. Today, the European Union is interested in the prosperity and unity of Central Asian countries and is our reliable partner “, said the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan Beibut Atamkulov during the meeting with the Special Representative of the European Union for Central Asia Peter Burian.
The EU Special Representative’s visit to Kazakhstan is on the eve of adoption of a new EU Strategy for Central Asia, focusing on the priority areas of the document with the countries of the region. Over the past two years, Kazakhstan has sent good-quality and meaningful ideas and suggestions as part of document preparation with neighboring countries in the region.
P. Burian thanked the Kazakh side for constructive proposals for the content of the new Strategy and noted that its effective implementation belongs to all stakeholders.
In the course of the meeting, the sides discussed the issues of human capital development, legal protection and quality management, development of small and medium-sized businesses, common digitalization, development of transport and logistics infrastructure, energy efficiency, green technologies, environment protection, rational utilization of water resources and security. The importance of the strategy is highlighted.
Acting Minister pointed out a number of concrete proposals aimed at ensuring effective implementation of development projects and rational utilization of resources, with a focus on the future implementation of the Strategy. Taking into account the fact that the European Union carries out significant regional project activities aimed at promoting the development of the CA countries, it was noted that within the framework of the new Strategy, the need to maintain the EU project area in the region.
One of the promising areas of cooperation was the launch of a joint program of training Afghan girls at higher educational institutions of Kazakhstan at the expense of the EU this year. The sides agreed that the educational project will help improve the situation of women and children in Afghanistan, as well as regulate the situation in the country as a whole.
Discussing regional cooperation issues, the sides noted the recent political and economic processes in Central Asia, which are characterized by high dynamics. This, in its turn, will open new perspectives for the entire spectrum of mutually beneficial partnership.
Within the framework of the discussion of bilateral cooperation between Kazakhstan and the EU, Special Representative Burian briefed on Kazakhstan’s intention to deepen trade and economic cooperation, increase Kazakhstan’s export, attract European investment into priority sectors of the economy, and facilitate EU visa facilitation for our citizens.
The sides discussed the prospects of the entry into force of the Advanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the European Union (EAEU) and opens new opportunities for bilateral cooperation in many areas of mutual interest.
He also briefed the Acting Minister on the new tasks of the Foreign Ministry on strengthening the economic component of the foreign policy of Kazakhstan. In particular, it was noted that the European vector of Kazakhstan aimed at deepening trade-economic and investment cooperation.
Trade turnover in 2018 is expected to reach 37.7 billion US dollars. In the first half of 2018, the total volume of direct foreign investments in Kazakhstan’s economy amounted to 12.3 billion US dollars. dollars. Currently, about 3 billion euros in Kazakhstan involve European companies. 24 investment projects are implemented in the amount of USD. The EU maintains a leading position among trade partners of Kazakhstan in the total volume of our trade turnover with a share of about 50%. It was noted that not only will this volume be preserved, but also should be expanded.
At the end of the meeting, the sides discussed the upcoming EU-CA schedule of activities in the current year.
In general, the negotiations were held in a confident and traditional atmosphere of friendship, characterized by the level of strategic relations between Kazakhstan and the European Union.
P. According to the program of Burian’s visit, meetings with the Senate and Mazhilis committees will be held.
Source: MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS REPUBLIC OF KAZAKHSTAN