Berlin Eurasian Club Conference Seeks Ways to Bring EAEU, EU Together

ASTANA – Kazakh officials asked for German support in bringing the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the EU together at the July 15 meeting of the Berlin Eurasian Club dedicated to that topic. The meeting was organised by the Institute of World Economics and Politics, supported by the Library of the First President of Kazakhstan, and attended by prominent representatives of Kazakh and German political, business and expert circles.

First Deputy Minister for Investment and Development Albert Rau, Director of the Institute of World Economics and Politics Sultan Akimbekov and Director of the Department of International Economic Integration Yernar Bakenov, representing Kazakhstan, discussed the growing potential for economic cooperation between the EAEU and the EU in various areas and offered individual examples of successful economic cooperation between Kazakhstan and Germany. They called on Germany and the German business community to actively contribute to the cooperation between the two associations. Rau emphasised Germany’s leading role in the EU and its importance in the integration process.

Managing Director of the Eastern Committee of the German Economy (ECGE) Michael Harms, Regional Director of the ECGE Eduard Kinsbruner, charge d’affaires of the German Embassy in Kazakhstan John Kramer, head of the delegation of the German economy in Central Asia Joerg Hatch and head of the Deutsche Bank delegation and member of Kazakhstan’s Foreign Investors Council Ulf Vokurka represented Germany at the event. Kazakhstan was also represented by Kazakh Ambassador to Germany Bolat Nussupov.

Nussupov highlighted key aspects of trade, economic and investment cooperation between Kazakhstan and Germany during his welcome speech. He also stated the main priorities of Kazakhstan’s chairmanship of the EAEU, quoting President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev’s speech at the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council on May 31, when Nazarbayev called 2016 the year of deepening economic relations with third countries and major integration associations.

Harms, Kinsbrunner and Hatch reported on the development of bilateral trade and economic relations through the prism of the priorities of the German economy in Kazakhstan. They drew attention to the considerable potential of further expansion in the EAEU and EU format.

The German representatives highlighted the opportunities of the East Forum, held annually by the ECGE in Berlin, which they said had become a solid foundation for the revitalisation and expansion of economic cooperation between the East and the West.

Kramer noted that the monetary value of trade turnover between Kazakhstan and Germany had decreased because of the drop in oil prices, but stated that both countries are maintaining all trade connections.

Hatch said Kazakhstan is very attractive for German business people, as it is the leading economy in Central Asia and provides friendly and comfortable conditions for foreign companies. He also added that German businesses always seek to establish their offices in Kazakhstan even if they aim to work with other Central Asian markets.

The German experts noted Kazakhstan’s leadership role in the region and in integration processes. They said that the state has the potential to become a reliable and effective link in the development and deepening of trade and economic relations between the EAEU and the EU and the establishment of the free trade zone from Lisbon to Vladivostok, an initiative long espoused by the official Berlin.

The Berlin Eurasian Club was established in 2012 as a dialogue platform for discussing a wide range of social and political issues between Kazakhstan and Germany. The club was the first project of this kind in the EU, aimed at exploring new opportunities to strengthen the dialogue between European and Central Asian nations.

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