The Cooperation Council between the European Union and Kazakhstan held its nineteenth meeting on Monday, 20 June 2022 in Luxemburg.
Both parties confirmed the mutual commitment to further strengthen bilateral relations and reviewed progress made in the implementation of EU-Kazakhstan Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA), which entered into force on 1 March 2020. Bilateral cooperation between Kazakhstan and the European Union has progressed steadily, and has become even more relevant in light of the current geopolitical context, through high-level contacts and continued exchanges at different levels.
The EU conveyed a strong message of commitment to the bilateral relations and the demonstrated willingness to open new avenues of cooperation in the framework of the EPCA, for instance on critical raw materials. The current geopolitical context has highlighted the need for new alternative routes that connect Asia and Europe, and connectivity has become an area of strategic importance where there is a mutual interest for further cooperation. With regard to trade, the EU welcomed the advanced level of economic relations developed between the EU and Kazakhstan.
The EU is Kazakhstan’s first trade partner and first foreign investor, and Kazakhstan remains the main trade partner of the EU in Central Asia. In 2021, the trade balance reached 12 bn € in favour of Kazakhstan. The EU welcomed the successful cooperation in the framework of the EU-Kazakhstan High–Level Business Platform launched in 2019, and in particular the constructive spirit shown by Kazakhstan in addressing concerns shared by EU investors. The platform acknowledges the importance of the EU in Kazakhstan’s external trade, and opens possibilities to explore new avenues of cooperation.
The Cooperation Council also provided an opportunity for reinforced political dialogue and addressed issues of good governance, the promotion and protection of human rights, and engagement with civil society. The EU shared its concerns regarding the follow up of the January events and highlighted the importance of a full and independent investigation that would be shared with the international community, including on human rights violations. The EU welcomed the political reform path that Kazakhstan has embarked on, notably the constitutional referendum that took place on Sunday 5 June. With this referendum, the people of Kazakhstan supported important constitutional amendments aimed at strengthening the democracy of the country.
The EU equally welcomed Kazakhstan’s Green Agenda and its commitment to a green transition. The EU encouraged Kazakhstan to submit a revised NDC to the UNFCCC. The EU welcomed Kazakhstan’s pledge to reach carbon neutrality by 2060 and looked forward to seeing the target reflected in the revised NDC. The EU offered its expertise and support to modernise Kazakhstan’s energy system by harnessing its sun and wind potential. The EU recognised Kazakhstan as an influential regional player and its constructive role in regional cooperation. Regional security was also discussed, including the situation in Afghanistan, border management, and counter-terrorism. The EU looked forward to the EU-Central Asia Ministerial meeting that will take place in the autumn.
The Cooperation Council was chaired by Catherine Colonna, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France. The delegation of Kazakhstan was led by Mukhtar Tileuberdi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Source – EU Council