Kazakhstan and the EU celebrate 30 years of ever-closer relations
Diplomats and other guests who gathered in Brussels to celebrate 30 years since the EU and Kazakhstan established official relations recognised that it is now a rapidly developing partnership. Both sides were keen to acknowledge the mutual importance of their strategic relationship, writes Political Editor Nick Powell.
Although it was marking a 30 year relationship, everyone present at the celebration in Brussels was aware of a remarkable 12 months, both in Kazakhstan itself and for its relations with the European Union. Ambassador Margulan Baimukhan observed that they were taking their strategic partnership to new heights.
“This 30 years is only the beginning … I am sure the future will bring many new success stories of relations between Kazakhstan and the European Union”, he said. He noted that the EU is already his country’s largest trade and investment partner.
From the European External Action Service, its Managing Director for Central Asia, Michael Siebert, told the guests that the EU and Kazakhstan had achieved ever closer relations over 30 years.
“It has been a steadily growing relationship that we can honestly call today a strategic relationship and we are very happy and proud about this state of affairs between the European Union and Kazakhstan”, he said.
Mr Siebert referred to the leap forward in the relationship in 2023, in part due to the geopolitical upheaval of the last year. There was already a solid basis, with an enhanced partnership and cooperation agreement coming fully into force in 2020, covering 29 specific areas. “We will build our cooperation in future”, he added.
The EEAS managing director highlighted economic cooperation, transport, green transformation and climate policy, education and research and development as areas of great potential. He also pointed to last year’s memorandum of understanding on a strategic partnership on sustainable raw materials, batteries and renewable hydrogen.Advertisement
He said the MoU underpinned the partnership in this very important area, so crucial for the green energy transition. It was where Kazakhstan offered so much to the European Union in future -and where the EU hoped to reciprocate.
Ambassador Baimukhan stated that European companies had invested more that €160 billion in the Kazakh economy, with the EU now accounting for a third of all foreign trade. He introduced Kazakhstan’s Minister of Agriculture, Erbol Karashukeyev, who also emphasised the role his country could play in creating a more sustainable world.
“Kazakhstan has a huge potential in the production and export of high quality and environmentally friendly organic agricultural products”, he said. He added that the country is already a world-leading exporter of cereals and oilseed.
Michael Siebert also spoke about the EU’s close interest in Kazakhstan’s political transformation. “We have seen the vision of a just and fair Kazakhstan, which is open, more democratic, more inclusive”, he said. He went on to say that whenever it was useful for the European Union to help, “I would like to reassure you that we would stand on your side, to accompany you in this endeavour”.
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