Kazakhstan, EU Seek to Strengthen Bilateral, Regional Ties

ASTANA – Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vassilenko and the delegation of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament (EP), headed by Chair David McAllister, emphasized the importance of bilateral and regional cooperation, reported the Foreign Ministry’s press service on Aug. 22.

Photo credit: Foreign Ministry.

The meeting was also attended by the committee’s Vice-Chair, Željana Zovko (Croatia), EP members Gheorghe-Vlad Nistor (Romania), Klemen Grošelj (Slovenia), Karsten Lucke (Germany), Juozas Olekas (Lithuania), Manolis Kefalogiannis (Greece), as well as political advisors from leading EP party groups.

The participants discussed priority areas of cooperation between Kazakhstan and the European Union (EU) in the political, trade, and economic spheres under the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between Kazakhstan and the EU. They also explored collaboration in the energy, transport, and logistics sectors, including the development of the Middle Corridor. 

Additional topics of interest included emerging sectors like critical raw materials and green hydrogen. Both sides expressed satisfaction with the positive trajectory in inter-parliamentary relations.

Vassilenko emphasized the significance of initiating official consultations on visa facilitation for Kazakh citizens, a step that would foster closer ties between Kazakhstan and the EU.

“The European Parliament can play a more significant role in advancing diverse interactions between Kazakhstan and the EU while supporting our efforts to enhance regional cooperation in Central Asia,” said Vassilenko.

David McAllister commended the current political dialogue between Kazakhstan and the EU, welcoming the regular and intensive interaction in priority areas of bilateral and regional cooperation.

“Kazakhstan is a reliable and stable partner of the European Union in the region, acting as a gateway to broader Asia. Central Asia matters to Europe. And Europe matters to Central Asia,” he said.

The parties also exchanged views on current regional and international agendas, including the situation in Afghanistan. 

On Aug. 21, the committee held a separate meeting with State Counselor Erlan Karin and representatives from the Ministry of National Economy. During the meeting with the ministry, the EP members expressed interest in cooperating with Kazakhstan in the EU-Central Asia format.

The EU is the leading trade and investment partner of Kazakhstan, accounting for more than 30% of Kazakhstan’s foreign trade and investment.

In 2022, trade turnover between the parties reached $39.9 billion, 38% higher than in the previous year. In January-June, the volume of trade exceeded $20 billion.

Direct EU investments into Kazakhstan’s economy rose 23% last year, reaching a 10-year record of $12.5 billion. 

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