19th Meeting of Kazakhstan - EU Cooperation Committee takes place in Brussels
1 April 2022 13:39

19th Meeting of Kazakhstan - EU Cooperation Committee takes place in Brussels

BRUSSELS. KAZINFORM Kazakhstan’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Roman Vassilenko took part in the 19th Meeting of the Republic of Kazakhstan - European Union Cooperation Committee.

Luc Devigne, Deputy Managing Director for Russia, Eastern Partnership, Central Asia and OSCE at the European External Action Service, co-chaired the meeting on the European side. The representatives of Kazakhstani ministries and agencies, as well as the representatives of various Directorates of the European Commission spoke at the Committee Meeting, the Kazakh MFA’s press service reports.

The regular meeting of the Cooperation Committee offered a detailed review of the implementation of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the European Union (EPCA), as well as the agreements reached during the visit of the President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to Brussels on 25-56 October 2021.

The agenda of the committee included the cooperation in the political, trade, and economic area, the rule of law and human rights, as well as cooperation in the field of transport, energy, education, science, environmental protection, and combatting climate change. In addition, the sides discussed visa liberalization between Kazakhstan and the EU.

The delegations also consulted on the possibility of interacting under the EU Strategy for Central Asia and the EU’s «Global Gateway» Strategy.

It has been noted that the European Union, Kazakhstan’s main trade and investment partner, accounts for about 40 percent of the country’s trade and accumulated foreign investments. According to Vassilenko, despite the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the parties kept the positive dynamics of economic and trade-investment relations.

The Kazakh diplomat empathized the importance of minimizing or preventing the negative effects of the EU’s sanctions regime against Russia on trade and economic relations between Kazakhstan and the European Union. He underlined the need for diversification of trade relations and expansion of the list of Kazakh exports with particular attention to agricultural goods. It has been confirmed by the EU side that the sanctions do not target Kazakhstan. At the same time, the EU delegation voiced its readiness to support the facilitation of the access to Kazakhstani products into the European single market.

Among the issues raised by the Kazakh side was the intensification of cooperation under the EU’s Green Deal, the establishment of partnerships with the European Battery Alliance and the Raw Materials Alliance. The discussions included the topics of climate change and Kazakhstan’s commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

During the discussions on transport, transit, and infrastructures, the European side expressed interest in cooperating to explore the potential of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, or the so-called «Middle Corridor.» Vassilenko informed his European counterparts about the advantages of the «Middle Corridor» that correlate with the objectives of the EU’s Global Gateway strategy.

Within the framework of political cooperation, the parties noted the dynamic tone of interaction supported by the visits at the high and highest levels.

The deputy foreign minister noted Kazakhstan attaches great importance to the rule of law and human rights, a priority area of cooperation between Kazakhstan and the EU. In this context, he informed the European colleagues in detail about the large-scale political reforms implemented in the country by the head of state to build a New Kazakhstan, and familiarized them with the main points of the President’s recent address to the people. The European side expressed support for the course of political modernization of the country’s leadership and expressed its intention to participate in the implementation.

In the field of dialogue on human rights issues, the parties noted the importance of strengthening inter-parliamentary cooperation. The Kazakh side also voiced interest in participating in trainings and seminars tailored for law enforcement agencies.

The parties commended the active cooperation within the Central Asia - EU platform and discussed the calendar of the C5+EU events for 2022. The topics in regional security, sustainable development, environmental protection, and development of civic society dominate this year’s agenda.

Overall, the regular meeting of the Cooperation Committee allowed for a detailed review of the activities aimed at the implementation of EPCA, as well as the preparation for the next, 19th Meeting of the Kazakhstan - EU Cooperation Council in June 2022, under the French Presidency of the Council of the EU.

Following the meeting of the cooperation committee, Deputy Foreign Minister held talks with Stefano Sannino, the Secretary General of the European External Action Service, on further steps to enhance bilateral cooperation in regard to the official visit of the President Tokayev to Brussels in 2021.

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