BRUSSELS – Officials of the European Union and Kazakhstan conferred on Monday on new ways to cooperate in both the economic and political spheres.
The 16th meeting of the EU-Kazakhstan Cooperation Council featured an exchange of ideas on removing obstacle to trade, facilitating foreign investment in the Central Asian country and stimulating the Kazakh economy, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva said on behalf of the EU at the conclusion of the session.
Delegates also discussed the need to ensure stability and security in Central Asia while protecting individual rights, she said.
The EU expects Kazakhstan to move forward on respect for individual rights and engagement with civil society, Zaharieva said.
“The Cooperation Council welcomed the successful implementation of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Kazakhstan, in a number of areas including trade and customs, environment and climate change, energy and green economy as well as rule of law and judicial cooperation,” according to an EU statement.
Kazakh representatives will travel to Brussels in April for discussions of trade and customs issues, the Bulgarian said.
Zaharieva, whose country currently occupies the EU rotating presidency, said that 1,500 Kazakh have attended European universities on scholarships provided by the EU’s Erasmus+ program, which has likewise helped 680 Europeans pursue studies at institutions in Kazakhstan.
The EU’s new approach to relations with Central Asia calls for extending cooperation into areas such as transportation infrastructure and energy, Zaharieva said.
Kazakhstan’s foreign minister, Kairat Abdrakhmanov, said he hoped that the EU member-states would ratify the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the bloc and his country, creating “new development opportunities” in the Central Asian nation.