ASTANA – French President Emmanuel Macron, who arrived in Kazakhstan for an official visit on Nov. 1, visited the Maqsut Narikbayev University to meet students.
In his opening remarks, Macron shared why he visited Kazakhstan and why it was important for France and the Central Asian region. According to him, amid the crises worldwide, the question of “how to play, maximize your interest, and defend your values in such a world is a common question for Kazakhstan and France.”
“I do believe that both of us have exactly the same issue in this world: how to preserve peace and stability for us, how to be sure or more sure that international law is more respected and how to preserve or restore more sovereignty and independence,” said Macron.
“You can have a lot of partnerships but you have to build your own autonomy strategy. I think this is exactly the strategy your President develops for his country, from agriculture to oil, connectivity, and so on. This is exactly the DNA for French policy and what we want to do in Europe today. This is why we have a lot of things to do together in this world of new wars and conflicts to have mutual respect and try to build this sovereignty for each other,” said Macron.
He said it is important to increase partnerships on the global agenda and address common challenges, including climate change, biodiversity, and regulation in the digital world, water issues, among others.
“If we want to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, and your country is committed to 2060, we have to build more and more common solutions, transfer innovations, accelerate the cooperation between companies to decarbonize the economy. This is exactly what we are doing and part of the agenda we have together between Kazakhstan and France,” he said.
Being in Kazakhstan, Macron noted, entails at least trying to build a common agenda for more sovereignty and autonomy in this world of big powers and increase concrete cooperation to deal with current challenges, with climate change being among the first ones.
A group of students had a unique opportunity to learn from Macron about key priority areas of Kazakh-French cooperation and talk to him about global trends, politics, the predominance of international law, and the situation in Ukraine and Israel.
“All lives matter in this world and I hate those debates dividing people. (…) We all are here because of universal human values, dignity of people and importance of any life in this world. These are universal values, part of the United Nations (UN) Charter. The proposal [resolution on the humanitarian situation in Gaza] we made is based on three points: fight against terrorism, protection of population and civilians and resumption of the political dialogue and the peace process,” he said.
Students asked Macron about his views on human equality, legal reforms, the European security order, and business opportunities in France for Kazakh entrepreneurs.
“We signed this morning a memorandum of understanding, which is absolutely key for us, on rare earth and critical minerals. Your country has a lot of them. This is super important and many entrepreneurs have many things to do based on this business with France to deploy, develop and export. I think we can increase exchange on financial services,” he said.
After the meeting, Macron shared with students three main life principles he follows in both his personal life and presidency, which are freedom, equality, and brotherhood.
“You will join, in the years to come, the labor market; I hope you will have not just a great career but a beautiful life. Never forget to be engaged in political life, in public choices. I speak with my heart when I say that. You come from the country with built independence, at the very important moment of your history. And I think this country does need your energy and what you learnt from this university. You are part of the public debate, you are part of the public decision. (…) In democracy, public choices, public life is yours. And this is your job, your duty and your responsibility,” Macron highlighted.