05.04.2022 EEAS Press Team
The European Union (EU) and Kazakhstan held their 19th meeting of the Cooperation Committee, Brussels, on Thursday, 31 March.
The EU recalled the first official visit of President Tokayev to Brussels on 25 November 2021 and both the EU and Kazakhstan expressed their strong support for strengthening relations. The EU enquired about progress in the investigation into the January violence which shook the country, including on human rights violations and abuses, and underlined the importance of a full, transparent and independent investigation. The EU welcomed the socio-economic and extensive package of political reforms announced by President Tokayev, and called for their effective implementation.
The EU stressed that the robust package of international financial and economic sanctions on Russia are not directed against third countries, including Kazakhstan. In this regard, the EU and Kazakhstan had fruitful high-level exchanges earlier this week, and will continue to discuss the implementation and impact of the sanctions regime.
The EU welcomed the bilateral Multi-annual Indicative programme for 2021-2027, which will support the implementation of the EPCA in two priority areas: 1) sustainable economic growth; and 2) rule of law.
The EU welcomed Kazakhstan’s Green Agenda and encouraged the country to follow the EU’s lead in focusing economic recovery on a green energy transition and further digitalisation. The EU expressed willingness to share its experience and provide support in this process.
In 2021-2027, cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan will be supported by two thematic programmes; the Democracy and Human Rights Programme, and the Civil Society and Local Authorities Programme. The aim is to support civil society organisations and their role as local governance and accountability actors and promoters of inclusive and sustainable growth. Support of media freedom is also an important element.
The EU welcomed Kazakhstan’s participation in the Erasmus+ programme and encouraged further involvement in the new programme. To date (2014-2020), 130 Kazakh universities or faculties have sent over 3,300 students and staff to over 270 European partners in 29 countries. Kazakhstan has hosted around 1,500 Europeans. The EU welcomed Kazakhstan’s active membership of the European Higher Education Area, its appointment as co-chair of the Bologna Process, for the second half of this year, and its initiative to set up a Central Asian Higher Education Area.
Kazakhstan has been active in Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation with 14 participations in various projects, including 11 in Marie-Sklodowska-Curie scientific mobility actions. The EU encouraged Kazakhstan researchers and innovators to continue building partnerships with their European counterparts in the framework of the current Horizon Europe.
The EU is Kazakhstan’s first trade and investment partner, representing over one third of Kazakhstan’s external trade and over a half of total foreign direct investment in Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is the first Central Asian country with which the EU signed an Enhanced Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (EPCA), which entered into force on 1 March 2020.
The Cooperation Committee also discussed EU-Central Asia regional cooperation, including in the field of education, water and environment, rule of law, security, counter-terrorism, fighting drug trafficking and border management.
The meeting was chaired by Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan, Roman Vassilenko, and Deputy Managing Director for Europe and Central Asia, European External Action Service, Luc Devigne.