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Kairat Abdrakhmanov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, received Ambassador Traian Hristea, the Head of the EU Delegation in Astana, to discuss prospects for developing relations between Kazakhstan and the European Union within the context of agreements reached at the 16th session of the Kazakhstan-EU Cooperation Council held on 26 February 2018 in Brussels.
The two diplomats agreed on the need to begin developing a Roadmap that would reflect joint steps to implement the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA), signed in Astana on 21 December 2015. (At the moment, the EPCA is in a status of provisional application pending its ratification by all 28 EU Member States; so far, 23 EU states and the European Parliament have already given their consent for its approval)
Moreover, Minister Abdrakhmanov and Ambassador Hristea examined promising areas of cooperation in the field of connectivity, the development of transport and logistics links on the Eurasian continent, and positive developments in cooperation between Central Asian states. The Head of the EU Delegation spoke about the EU Connectivity Strategy for Asia, which is being developed by the European Union and is set to be adopted before the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit to be held in October 2018. In addition, the EU, together with active participation from Central Asian states including Kazakhstan, is engaged in developing a new EU Strategy for Central Asia. It is planned that the new EU Strategy will be adopted in the second half of 2019.
Particular attention was paid to cooperation on advancing the sustainable development of Afghanistan. The EU Ambassador reported that the European Commission had begun preparing the first phase of a project to finance the education of Afghan women in Kazakhstan's higher education institutions, which will be implemented as an extension of the Kazakh education program for Afghanistan in place since 2010.
During the meeting, the European diplomat was briefed about the status of institutional reforms being implemented in Kazakhstan to ensure the rule of law and improve legislation in various spheres of public life.
Minister Abdrakhmanov gave a detailed explanation of the Five Social Initiatives of President Nursultan Nazarbayev aimed at creating new incentives for economic development, strengthening the middle class, and developing the country's human potential.
In this context, the two sides discussed prospects for Kazakh-EU collaboration on implementing the initiatives, in view of their compatibility with the main fields of cooperation between Kazakhstan, the European Union, its Member States, and financial institutions such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank.