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BRUSSELS, November 13, 2019 – The leadership of Kazakhstan is committed to further enhancing cooperation with the European Union, and with the start of the new European Commission and the full entry into force of a large-scale agreement between Kazakhstan and the EU, this cooperation will receive a new significant impetus. This was stated by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, Roman Vassilenko, in Brussels, during a roundtable discussion held on November 13 at the Euractiv media agency on the topic “New Kazakh leadership: What impact for EU-Kazakhstan relations?”
Additional speakers at the event included Andris Ameriks, Member of the European Parliament and Deputy Head of the European Parliament's delegation on relations with Central Asian countries, Samuel Vesterbye, Managing Director of the European Neighborhood Council, Philippe van Amersfoort, Deputy Head of the Central Asia Division at the European External Relations Service, as well as Jocelyn Guitton, Policy Coordinator for Kazakhstan of the DG Trade of the European Commission. The roundtable discussion was also attended by the European Commission, representatives of the diplomatic missions of the EU member states in Brussels, European expert community and the media.
Roman Vassilenko introduced the audience to the first results of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s achievements, the main provisions of his first State of the Nation Address, as well as the priorities of his domestic and foreign policies. He pointed out that 2019 was an important year in the history of bilateral relations in light of the adoption of a new Strategy for Central Asia and the ratification of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA) between Kazakhstan and the EU, signed on December 21, 2015. Confirming the commitment of the country's leadership to further enhancing the cooperation with the European Union, the Kazakh diplomat expressed his confidence that with the assumption of a new European Commission and the full entry into force of the EPCA, relations with Kazakhstan will receive a new significant impetus.
Andris Ameriks pointed out that Kazakhstan is one of the key partners of the EU in Central Asia both in terms of political and economic cooperation, and in terms of regional security.
In turn, Philippe van Amersfoort welcomed the reforms in Kazakhstan aimed at strengthening the rule of law and the work of the recently created dialogue platform between Kazakhstan and the EU on economic and business issues with the participation of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, which helps to build and diversify trade and economic cooperation.
Jocelyn Guitton drew attention to the fact that Kazakhstan is the largest trading partner of the EU among the countries of Central Asia: 86% of trade between the EU and the Central Asian region is accounted for by our country. He added that the transit and transport potential of Kazakhstan as a country between Asia and Europe could be a powerful driver of the country's economic growth.
Samuel Vesterbye, who had the opportunity to observe presidential elections in Kazakhstan in June 2019, noted the importance of wide-spread involvement of civil society in the processes of modernizing the country's social and political life.
The participants of the event were unanimous in their opinion that the effective implementation of the EPCA will be key to expanding economic ties and increasing trade between Kazakhstan and the European Union, attracting European technologies and investments and creating new jobs.