EU, Kazakhstan Cooperation Agreement Negotiations Resume in Astana

ASTANA – The fourth round of two-day negotiations on a new enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) between the European Union and Kazakhstan started on Oct. 9 in Astana.

The chief negotiators at the meeting were Gunnar Wiegand, director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia at the European External Action Service (EEAS), and Alexey Volkov, deputy minister of foreign affairs of Kazakhstan and national coordinator for relations with the EU.

“We resumed negotiations on a new enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement and had a productive working session today. These negotiations are based on 20 years of mutually beneficial cooperation, respect and trust. We can build on the will of both sides to intensify our cooperation, as expressed by Presidents Barroso and Nazarbayev in June 2013, and re-confirmed two days ago by Minister of Foreign Affairs Idrissov, who called for the soonest possible conclusion of the agreement,” Wiegand said at the meeting.

“We covered most of the aspects of the new agreement, including political dialogue, cooperation in foreign and security policy, economic cooperation, justice and home affairs and people-to-people relations. At the next round, trade and investment provisions should also be negotiated,” Wiegand added.

Kazakhstan is the only country in Central Asia with which negotiations on a second generation agreement have been launched. The new enhanced PCA will provide a broad framework for reinforced political dialogue and cooperation in home and justice affairs, and will promote mutual trade and investment and further expand good relations between the EU and Kazakhstan.

Negotiations were formally opened in June 2011 and the previous round of negotiations was held in July 2012 in Astana. The current PCA between Kazakhstan and the EU was signed in 1995 and entered into force in 1999. It will remain in force until a new, enhanced PCA replaces it.

The 13th European Union-Kazakhstan Cooperation Committee meeting was held on the same day. EU-Kazakhstan bilateral relations, including Kazakhstan’s World Trade Organisation accession process, investment climate, rule of law and good governance and regional cooperation in the framework of the EU Strategy for Central Asia were discussed.

The EU is Kazakhstan’s largest trade and investment partner. The EU accounts for almost 49 percent of Kazakhstan’s foreign trade; 60 percent of Kazakhstan foreign direct investment comes from European companies.

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