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A “round table” “Modernization of Kazakhstan. What role of for the European Union?” with the support of the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Belgium was held at “Euractiv” premises on June 19, 2018 in Brussels. Managing Director for Russia, Eastern Partnership, Central Asia and the OSCE of the European External Action Service Luc Devigne, Member of the European Parliament Andrei Mamikins, Head of the Office of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in Brussels Gwilym Jones, Director of the Department of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Energy Kazakhstan Ruslan Karabulov, representatives of the EU institutions, the European expert community and the media took part in the event.
The Chargé d'affaires of the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Brussels, Yerbolat Sembayev, spoke about the main provisions of the Addresses of the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, “Third Modernization of Kazakhstan: Global Competitiveness”, “New Opportunities under the Fourth Industrial Revolution” and the program article of the Head of State “Course towards the Future: Modernization of Kazakhstan's Identity”. “Modernization of Kazakhstan's Identity as well as political and economic reforms will further integrate Kazakhstan into the international community and create political, business and economic opportunities not only for citizens of Kazakhstan, but also for international investors and other interested parties,” the Kazakh diplomat said.
Devigne noted that the European Union, being the largest investor in the economy of the country, assesses Kazakhstan as an important partner. He stressed the high level of relations between Kazakhstan and the EU in the economic, political and cultural-humanitarian spheres and noted that the Agreement on Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation signed in 2015 will promote further development, and also coincides with Kazakhstan's modernization plans.
In his speech, Mamikins stressed that the program of the third modernization of Kazakhstan is “the key to solving the challenges of tomorrow”. The speaker focused on the fourth priority of the President's Address “Third Modernization of Kazakhstan: Global Competitiveness” - improving of human capital. According to him, the modernization process belongs to Kazakhstan, while the EU, in turn, can help the country through the exchange of best practices. The MEP also noted that over a century ago, in 1904, Halford Mackinder identified Kazakhstan as part of the “Heartland”. “It was 100 years ago, and now Kazakhstan becomes the “Heartland” of Central Asia and has the potential to expand coverage”, Mamikins noted.
“Kazakhstan is very important for the EBRD and for the work we do,” stressed Jones. He noted the dynamics and relevance of the modernization initiatives in Kazakhstan and identified three main areas of the EBRD's work in Kazakhstan: the development of green energy, in particular the construction of a solar power plant in South Kazakhstan, agriculture and connectivity in the context of the project “Western Europe - Western China”. Jones also noted that at the moment EBRD is working together with International Financial Center Astana to create a business and finance hub in Kazakhstan.
Karabulov in his speech spoke about the modernization of the energy sector of Kazakhstan, including the projects for the development of green energy, the concept of transition to the use of renewable energy in Kazakhstan, and the use of the heritage of the International Specialized Exhibition EXPO-2017, Energy of the Future, held in 2017 in Astana.