Today, attending the COP27 in Egypt, Commission President Ursulavon derLeyenand Alikhan Smailov, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, signed a Memorandum of Understanding establishing a partnership between the EU and Kazakhstan.
The agreement aims to ensure the development of a secure and sustainable supply of raw materials and refined materials. It also aims to develop renewable hydrogen and battery value chains, to boost the green and digital transformation of both sides’ economies.
President of the Commission Ursulavon der Leyensaid:
“A secure and sustainable supply of raw materials, refined materials and renewable hydrogen is a key layer to help build a new, cleaner foundation for our economies, especially as we move away from our dependency on fossil fuels. This partnership with Kazakhstan shows Europe’s commitment to work with partner countries on our shared commitments to a greener and more resilient future in line with the Global Gateway Strategy and the objectives of the REPowerEU Plan. I would like to thank Prime Minister Smailov of Kazakhstan for his efforts and look forward to our cooperation.”
The partnership is centred around three areas of collaboration:
- Closer economic and industrial integration in the strategic value chains of raw materials, batteries and renewable hydrogenthrough, among others:
- Identifying joint projects throughout the respective value chains including recycling and attracting private investment;
- Aligning high environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards;
- Modernisation of mining and refining processes and technologies through the introduction of new technologies and sustainable practices.
- Increasing the resilience of raw material, battery and renewable hydrogen supply chainsthrough, among others:
- Enhancing the transparency and information on measures related to investment, operations and exports relevant to the scope of this partnership.
- Closer bilateral cooperation on capacity-building, skills and research & innovation on topicsthrough, among others:
- Decarbonisation of the critical raw materials value chain including by using renewable energy and digitalisation;
- Greening and sustainability of mining processes;
- Management of industrial mineral waste and extraction of critical raw materials from them.
The EU and Kazakhstan have committed to develop a Roadmap for 2023-2024, with concrete joint actions agreed within six months of the signature of the Partnership. These actions are to be carried out in close cooperation with relevant industrial and financial stakeholders from the EU Member States and Kazakhstan.
Tomorrow, Presidentvon der Leyenwill meet with President of Namibia Hage Geingob to sign a similar partnership between the European Union and Namibia.
Raw materials, batteries and renewable hydrogen value chains are critical to the green and digital transitions. Critical Raw Materials are essential for the deployment of technologies like wind turbines (with rare earth magnets); batteries (lithium and cobalt) and semiconductors (polysilicon). Similarly, batteries are crucial to our energy transition and shift to zero-emissions transport, while renewable hydrogen technology supports the decarbonisation of hard to abate sectors and energy intensive industries.
The EU needs to secure a sustainable supply of raw materials, especially critical raw materials, as an essential prerequisite for delivering on green and clean energy objectives. As part of theAction Plan on Critical Raw Materials, the Commission has already started working to build partnerships with resource-rich third countries, making use of all external policy instruments and respecting its international obligations.
The Commission has already adopted two strategic partnerships on raw materials with Canada (June 2021) and Ukraine (July 2021). The partnerships allow both sides to advance trade and investments into a secure, sustainable and resilient raw materials value chain, which is key to achieving the transition to climate-neutral and digitalised economies. The implementation of the partnership with Ukraine, partially interrupted due to the Russian invasion of the country, will be re-started during the EU Raw Materials Week 2022.
In the margins of the UN General Assembly in September 2022, Presidentvon der Leyenand Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kazakhstan, expressed a willingness to deepen economic cooperation in the critical raw materials domain and agreed to intensify work on a Memorandum of Understanding, where the Global Gateway could play a role.
For More Information
A secure and sustainable supply of raw materials, refined materials and renewable hydrogen is a key layer to help build a new, cleaner foundation for our economies, especially as we move away from our dependency on fossil fuels. This partnership with Kazakhstan shows Europe’s commitment to work with partner countries on our shared commitments to a greener and more resilient future in line with the Global Gateway Strategy and the objectives of the REPowerEU Plan. I would like to thank Prime Minister Smailov of Kazakhstan for his efforts and look forward to our cooperation.
Source – EU Commission
Statement by EU Commission President von der Leyen on the occasion of the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding with Kazakhstan
Thank you very much Prime Minister Smailov,
It is a great pleasure for me to sign with you this important Memorandum of Understanding between Kazakhstan and the European Union. We are basically opening a new chapter in our already deep relationship. The European Union and Kazakhstan have developed strong economic ties over the years. The European Union is by far the largest foreign investor in Kazakhstan, with 60% of the stock of foreign direct investment. The Memorandum of Understanding we have just signed will now further expand this relationship and align it with the shared priorities of both parties.
Together, we will work to better integrate our strategic value chains related to raw materials, to batteries and to renewable hydrogen. These value chains are very important engines to power the green and the digital transition worldwide. We know for example how important batteries are to electrify our economy, for example for electric vehicles or the storage of renewable energy, so there is a great demand for that. Or if we take hydrogen: As European Union, we are determined to reach climate neutrality by 2050 and we have ambitious plans to move away from fossil fuels. And there, hydrogen will play a major role to be one of the big sources of renewable energy that we will need. We know that all of this requires an appropriate amount of specific raw materials, and in particular minerals of which Kazakhstan is so rich. So raw materials and renewable hydrogen are not only essential building blocks for our sustainable future but also for our shared prosperity.
Finally, to be successful in the long term, MoUs must be rooted in ambitious, long-term partnerships that align well with the values of both parties. The Memorandum of Understanding that we have just signed is exemplary in this respect. First of all, because it emphasises that our cooperation must help align our high environmental, social and governance standards. Second, because it foresees that Kazakhstan and the European Union will for example cooperate on research and innovation, on the formation of skills, or on capacity building. And finally, because this will also attract private capital to these investments, the value chains we are developing together in Kazakhstan will serve the whole world. Because, of course, it is not exclusively for the European Union but it is open to everybody. And these value chains will be much needed worldwide.
Let me conclude by emphasising that today is the first step in our common journey. The real work starts now. We will take stock in six months, by which time we aim to have designed an operational roadmap, in partnership with our Member States, with industry and with the stakeholders.
So Prime Minister, I am very much looking forward to the next steps. And many thanks for being here with us today.