Kazakh, European Officials Discuss Reforms and New Economic Policies

ASTANA – At an Oct. 5 meeting in Strasbourg with Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vassilenko, the Council of Europe (CoE) was informed about the political reforms and the new economic direction outlined in President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s state-of-the-nation address, reported the ministry’s press service.

Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vassilenko with Council of Europe’s Deputy Secretary General Bjørn Berge. Photo credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Group of Rapporteurs on External Relations (GR-EXT) of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CMCE) emphasized Kazakhstan’s significance in the face of geopolitical challenges, pledging to assist in the return of illegally withdrawn assets.

They expressed support for Kazakhstan’s aim to accede to the CoE Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism. Kazakhstan’s plans to establish closer cooperation to evaluate measures against the legalization of criminal income also received commendation.

Discussions covered the new Neighborhood Cooperation Priorities between the CoE and Kazakhstan for 2024-2027, initially launched in 2014. Since then, the country has become a full member of two CoE partial agreements, including the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) and the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO).

The meeting of the Group of Rapporteurs on External Relations (GR-EXT) of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CMCE). Photo credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Vassilenko highlighted that Kazakhstan is a party to four conventions on recognition of qualifications related to higher education in the European region, the European cultural convention, on laundering, detection, seizure and confiscation of proceeds from criminal activities, and on mutual administrative assistance in taxation.

Currently, the country is considering accession to the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, one of the topmost priorities for President Tokayev and the CoE. Notably, 70% of Kazakhstan’s existing and forthcoming legislation aligns with the stipulations of this Convention.

The Kazakh authorities are also contemplating official invitations to join the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption and the Convention on Cybercrime.

Delegations from Azerbaijan, Cyprus, the European Union, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom welcomed the current level of cooperation between Kazakhstan and the CoE.

They strongly endorsed Kazakhstan’s democratic course, encompassing constitutional changes, the abolition of the death penalty, increased representation of women in Parliament, and strengthening the role of the Commissioner for Human Rights.

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