Kazakhstan: EU presents ‘Letter from Nur-Sultan’ together with Carnegie Europe

NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — On December 5, the Kazakh capital hosted the presentation of the so-called “Letter from Nur-Sultan”. The event organized by the European Union Delegation to Kazakhstan in cooperation with the Carnegie Europe Center provided a unique opportunity to discuss the key issues of the EU-Kazakhstan and the EU-Central Asia relations. The “Letter from Nur-Sultan” is part of the Capitals Series by the Carnegie Europe and is the first such publication on the Central Asian region. The Letter itself was prepared by a well-known Kazakhstani expert, political scientist, Chief Research Fellow of the Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies under the President of Kazakhstan, Dr Murat Laumulin, the Delegation of the European Union to Kazakhstan reported.

EU Ambassador to Kazakhstan Sven-Olov Carlsson said: “The EU’s partnership with the region is not directed against anyone. Kazakhstan and the other Central Asian countries appreciate our ability to engage on a non-exclusive basis without imposing binary choices. The EU does not aim to be a “Great Game” player on a “Grand Chessboard” but rather a reliable and committed partner for the region. We remain open for cooperation and synergies with everyone, including China and Russia, based on full transparency and fully respecting the Central Asian states’ ownership and sovereignty.”

The event was also attended by Visiting Scholar of the Carnegie Europe Dr Stefan Lehne, Ambassador of Austria to Kazakhstan Mr Gerhard Sailler, Director of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry’s Foreign Policy Analysis and Forecasting Department Talgat Kaliyev, as well as by prominent Kazakhstani experts, representatives of the academia and diplomatic corps.

“The EU needs more assertive strategy. This would entail shifting from a simple, general dialogue with the target country, based on ideas and principles, to a more meaningful dialogue based on explicit criteria for implementing those ideas and principles. Still, the EU should be lauded for successfully negotiating the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with Kazakhstan. What’s needed now by Brussels and Nur-Sultan is implementing it. The Central Asia strategy could also be made more flexible in terms of the projects and mandates that specific EU institutions in the recipient countries are authorized to accomplish. This game could be made more sophisticated by turning soft power—where Europe is stronger—into a geopolitical asset,” Dr Laumulin said in the Letter.

The event was held in the light of the renewed EU Strategy for Central Asia, adopted in July 2019, which sets how the EU and the countries of Central Asia can work much more closely on issues such as resilience, prosperity and regional cooperation. During the event the participants discussed in details the regional dimension of the EU Central Asia strategy and whether it was an adequate answer to the challenges of the 21st century. The paper focuses on regular interactions among EU representatives, the state authorities, civil society activists, and experts.

The full text of the Letter from Nur-Sultan is available here.

Carnegie Europe was founded in 2007 and has become the go-to source for European foreign policy analysis in Brussels on topics ranging from Turkey to the Middle East and the Eastern neighborhood to security and defense. Carnegie Europe’s strong team of scholars provides unparalleled depth of analysis and thoughtful, carefully crafted policy recommendations on the strategic issues facing the European Union and its member states.

Sergey Kwan