Kazakhstan-EU relations: From establishing the partnership to driving it forward
Kazakhstan’s first President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, is given credit for being instrumental in helping to establish Kazakh-EU relations. He helped lay the foundations for the landmark EU-Kazakhstan Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA), which entered into force on 1 March 2020.
The EU is Kazakhstan's main trade and investment partner, representing over one third of Kazakhstan's external trade and over a half of total foreign direct investment in Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan’s exports to the EU are almost entirely in the oil and gas sectors, alongside other minerals, chemicals and food products. From the EU, Kazakhstan imports machinery and transport equipment and pharmaceuticals, alongside chemical products, plastics, medical devices and furniture.
Kazakh-EU relations have significantly strengthened in the last two decades and go beyond trade and investment ties or political dialogue. The EU and Kazakhstan succeeded in establishing other successful cooperation in areas such as energy, transport, environment, research and security.
As the EU is working to make relations with Central Asia stronger and deeper, Kazakhstan continues to play a key role in the process. At a recent meeting of the Cooperation Committee, the EU and Kazakhstan discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of strengthened multilateralism. They also discussed the EU-Central Asia regional cooperation, including in the fields of security, counter-terrorism, fighting drug trafficking, and border management.
EURACTIV looks forward to welcoming you to this high-level debate to discuss the future of Kazakh-EU relations, and how deeper co-operation can lead to better security, increased economic prosperity and social improvements in the region.
Questions will include:
-What are the next steps for the EU’s cooperation with Kazakhstan?
-How will EPCA help to further develop economic relations and political cooperation?
-What impact will this partnership have on the EU’s long-term foreign policy goals in Central Asia?
Ambassador Aigul Kuspan, Embassy of Kazakhstan to Belgium
Andris Ameriks, MEP, Vice-Chair of the Delegation for Central Asia and Mongolia, European Parliament
Pierre Borgoltz, Member of the Advisory Council of FERRMED, former Coordinator for Cooperation with Central Asia countries in EEAS (European Commission)
Gani Bekenov, Head of the London Office of the Foundation of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan - Elbasy
Dastan Yeleukenov, Counselor to the Director of the Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies
Georgi Gotev, Senior Editor, Euractiv
9:30 - 9:35 Introduction & house rules
9:35 - 9:40 Welcome message by Ambassador Aigul Kuspan
9:40 - 9:55 Opening statements
9:55 - 10:40 Moderated discussion & Q&A
10:40 - 10:45 Closing statements
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Parliament has yet to decide whether it will send observers to Kazakhstan's parliamentary elections in January.