Kazakhstan and EU reiterate commitment to developing cooperation

european-commission-949

ASTANA (TCA) — The 16th meeting of Kazakhstan and the European Union Cooperation Committee was held in Astana on March 28, chaired by Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vassilenko and Director of the European External Action Service Luc Devigne.

The meeting discussed political and economic cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan in the context of the implementation of the Agreement on Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation (EPCA) signed on 21 December 2015 in Astana, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry said. The sides expressed satisfaction regarding the progress in the ratification of the EPCA by the EU member countries (at present, 9 out of 28 EU countries have already ratified the EPCA).

The diplomatic officials noted that the implementation of this historically significant document is a new stage in bilateral partnership for both sides; it will significantly expand the horizons of cooperation and open up new opportunities for cooperation in all spheres of mutual interest.

“The European Union is the leading trade and investment partner of Kazakhstan, which accounts for about 50 percent of Kazakhstan’s foreign trade turnover and more than half of the attracted investments,” said Vassilenko.

The trade turnover between Kazakhstan and the EU in 2016 amounted to about $24.1 billion (exports 18.4 billion euros, imports 5.6 billion euros).

Both sides expect that the consistent implementation of the EPCA will significantly increase these figures, primarily through trading of high-tech products.

The parties also discussed topical issues of cooperation in the field of education, water resources management, environment, the rule of law, security, including the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking.

Devigne emphasised that “the European Union welcomes the recent constitutional reforms in Kazakhstan as a step forward towards further democratisation”.

The issues of mobility and expansion of contacts between citizens of the EU countries and Kazakhstan were also discussed. The European side has gratefully accepted the cancellation from 1 January 2017 of visa requirements for EU citizens arriving in Kazakhstan for a period of up to 30 days. In turn, the representatives of Kazakhstan expressed a hope that the EU will also take measures to facilitate its visa regime for Kazakhstan citizens.

Sergey Kwan

TCA