Issues of developing multilateral collaboration between the European Union and Central Asian states in the framework of developing the project of EU strategy in Central Asia were discussed during the meeting.
Participated in the meeting Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier, European Union special representative for Central Asia Pierre Morel, European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighborhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic Ednan Karabaev, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan Hamrokhon Zaripov, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkmenistan Vepa Hadzhiev noted the importance of developing European Union strategy for Central Asia, which would take into account the broadening of interregional collaboration in the area of social economic development, free trade and investments, energy, fight against common threats and challenges, education and vocational training, democratic development, human rights protection, environment protection.
- I thanked the President for hospitality and for the opportunity to hold the sitting “Three countries of the European Union – countries of Central Asia” here. For the first time we have met at the level of Foreign Affairs Ministers in such a format. We talked to the President about the nature of the new strategy of the European Union in Central Asia, that is not just an actual interest, but the new orientation of the European Union, - the Head of German Foreign Affairs Ministry said at a press briefing for journalists.
He put an emphasis on the necessity of broadening scientific-humanitarian ties, collaboration in the area of ensuring regional and global securities, continuation of the democratization process in the Central Asian region.
- Kazakhstan has a special importance to us, as the first buttress in this region. We would like to be special partners to your country. At the same time we are going to support the intensive collaboration with the whole region, and we work on that. This must be a partnership in different areas, such as education, energy, economy, trade, investments, - Benita Ferrero-Waldner said after the meeting with the President of Kazakhstan.
European Union special representative for Central Asia Pierre Morel noted the pressing need for strengthening collaboration in fight against terrorism and drug traffic.
- We shared the outcomes of the meeting, which was held in the morning today, with the President of Kazakhstan. All agreements, which were achieved by us during the sitting, were positively evaluated. Nursultan Nazarbaev approves the strengthening of interregional collaboration and development of a completely new approach to relations between the EU and Central Asia. We hope that this collaboration will become more qualitative, qualified and fruitful to all our peoples, - the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan said.
It is expected that the Strategy’s project and main directions in the activities of the European Union in Central Asia will be considered and approved at sessions of EU official organs in this year, and then will be approved at a summit of the Heads of State and Government of the EU.
Diplomatic relations between the Republic of Kazakhstan and European Union (EU) were established in February 1993.
In order to intensify collaboration and strengthen multifaceted dialogue with Kazakhstan and other countries in the Central Asian region, in July 2005 the EU Council established the position of European Union special representative for Central Asia. Currently Pierre Morel holds this position.
From 1999 sittings of bilateral collaboration structures have been held on a regular basis. The structures were established according to the Agreement on partnership and collaboration – Collaboration Council at the level of heads of central executive body, Committee for parliamentary collaboration and Committee for collaboration at the level of senior officials.
The working body of interaction between Kazakhstan and the European Union is the Committee for collaboration. Problematic and prospects issues of bilateral relations are discussed at annual sittings of the Committee.
The Subcommittee for trade and investments was formed and works for considering actual issues of economic collaboration and offering mutual access to goods and services.
In April 2006 in Almaty the third meeting of “Three countries of the European Union – countries of Central Asia” was held at the level of Vice Ministers of Foreign Affairs. Issues of fight on terror and trafficking, trade liberalization and economic collaboration, energy, ecology, water resources management were discussed in the framework of the meeting.
The sides emphasized the importance of strengthening collaboration in fight against drug dealing and implementation of EU regional programs.
Trade economic and investment collaboration between Kazakhstan and the EU is implemented in the framework of the Agreement on partnership and collaboration (APC). Kazakhstan is the largest trade and investment partner of the EU in Central Asia.
In 2006 the amount of mutual trade achieved 22.79 billion dollars. The share of EU countries made 36.8 percents of the total value of Kazakhstan’s foreign trade.
The following countries make the most significant parts of Kazakhstan’s commodity turnover with EU countries: Italy (36.4%), France (16.5%), Germany (10.3%), Netherlands (8.4%), Great Britain (7.3%), Spain (4.6%).
EU countries have invested more than 35 billion dollars to Kazakhstan’s economy over the years of collaboration. The following countries are major investors to Kazakhstan’s economy: Netherlands (21.2 billion dollars), Great Britain (6.9 billion dollars), France (3 billion dollars), Germany (1.72 billion dollars), Italy (0.9 billion dollars).
The European Union is one of key partners of the negotiations on Kazakhstan’s accession to the World Trade Organization.