Welcome remarks by Roman VASSILENKO, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan at the Conference “Enhanced Integration for Regional Prosperity in Central Asia”

Nur-Sultan, 28 November 2019

Your Excellencies,

Dear ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to thank Ambassador Carlsson for his kind introduction and for giving me this great opportunity to address you today.

On behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to the organizers of this timely event for the excellent preparation and introduction of three new programmes aimed at the further improvement of investment climate, rule of law and development potential of Kazakhstan and Central Asia as a whole.

In this regard, we are pleased to welcome our esteemed colleagues from the Council of Europe and the Venice Commission, as well as representatives of the International Trade Center and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, who will work closely with us on the implementation of the new significant initiatives.

Ladies and gentlemen, 

In many ways, 2019 became a year of new opportunities and a year of new achievements, which allowed us to take a fresh look at the structure and content of our ties with European countries and European institutions.

This year we have witnessed the adoption of a new European Union strategy for Central Asia. This document is very important for us as it outlines priorities and contains provisions that are close and understandable to our region, through which we want to achieve mutual benefits for Central Asia and the EU countries.

Moreover, this year the countries of the European Union completed the ratification of the Enhanced Cooperation and Partnership Agreement between Kazakhstan and EU. We hope the Agreement fully enters into force at the beginning of next year. 

On our part, we are developing a special roadmap, which should help us coordinate activities of our government agencies under the agreement and launch the necessary mechanisms for the implementation of this strategic document important to Kazakhstan’s development.

The algorithm of bilateral meetings and visits laid down this year, including at the level of the EU leadership, will continue in 2020. We expect that the reciprocal visits of the Kazakh leadership to Brussels and other European capitals will advance our political and economic ties with Europe.

Moreover, our efforts to open the Regional Office of the Council of Europe and the OSCE Thematic Center for Sustainable Connectivity in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, should give a new practical character to our multilateral cooperation.

In recent months, our Government demonstrated a strong dedication to broadening our close partnership with the Council of Europe. Recently, Kazakhstan made a first big step aimed at the soonest entry of our country into the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO). 

The desire of the new leadership to create durable and effective tools that can strengthen the foundations of the rule of law in Kazakhstan is the main motivation for our efforts.

Ladies and gentlemen, 

We hope the EU strategy becomes a new driver for cooperation in the field of regional security and stability.

I would like to remind you that another three regional projects of the EU with the total budget of 42.4 million euros were launched last year.

And already this autumn, we witnessed the results of another major achievement signifying new trends in regional and inter-regional cooperation. Two weeks ago, I took part in the inauguration ceremony of the Trilateral Cooperation Programme between the EU, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan on the economic empowerment of Afghan women, supported and implemented by the UNDP. The programme educating 50 afghan women in the leading universities of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan until 2025 is unique for us as it is the first project of the EU initiated by the Central Asian nations. 

All these programmes aim to achieve a large number of Sustainable Development Goals and serve as a good basis for launching new prospective social projects, including as part of the recent initiative of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to establish a Regional Centre for SDGs in Almaty.

In fact, these success stories can be amplified and applied to other promising areas. We are ready to discuss new specific forms of our participation in the development and implementation of EU’s country or regional projects under the Development Cooperation Instrument in Central Asia.

We highly appreciate the decision of the European Commission to develop a new cooperation instrument, which will provide wider and more flexible opportunities for the implementation of the Strategy in the framework of the upcoming 7-year EU programme cycle (2021-27).

 We are convinced the active involvement of Central Asian countries in the selection of topics and development programs will better adapt them to the real needs of the region.

Summing up my remarks, I would like to emphasize that we now have a real opportunity to bring the EU-Central Asia cooperation to a qualitatively new level by enhancing it and incorporating new elements. 

We encourage our neighbours and European partners to continue joint efforts to fully unveil the rich potential of existing interregional cooperation. We, on our part, are fully prepared for such work.  

Thank you for your attention.

Created at : 28.11.2019, 19:25, Updated at : 28.11.2019, 19:25