Brussels, 21 October 2023 (TDI): The Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan, Roman Vassilenko attended the 38th meeting of the Berlin Eurasian Club (BEC), on October 19, in Brussels.

Prerequisites and opportunities for further strengthening business and humanitarian ties between Kazakhstan and the EU were discussed in the meeting.

The meeting was centered on the subject of “Further improvement of the business and citizens environment in the framework of the implementation of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA) between the EU and Kazakhstan.”

The BEC meeting was organized by the embassies of Kazakhstan in Germany and Belgium together with the Eastern Committee of the German Economy.

The meeting was attended by 60 representatives of government agencies, business associations, businesses, expert communities, and media from Kazakhstan, Germany, and the EU.

While highlighting the Kazakh-European trade, economic relations, and investment cooperation, the Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister highlighted that as per the results in 2022 bilateral trade turnover exceeded $40 billion, which is 38.3% more than in 2021 ($29 billion), and investments from EU countries reached $12.5 billion.

At the same time, he emphasized the great potential to further increase these numbers, which requires active joint work by both sides to improve the relevant conditions.

The EPCA between the EU and Kazakhstan covers 29 priority sectors of cooperation and serves as a solid legal basis for improving the business environment between the two countries.

The Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister at the meeting set forth that the business community of both countries can be assured of comprehensive support at the political level from both sides so that the implementation of specific projects can be focused.

Among the most promising areas of cooperation for the foreseeable future is energy, including “green” energy, rare earth metals & the development of transport & logistics links, including the development of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (Middle Corridor).

Furthermore, the Director for Energy Intensive Industries, Raw Materials and Hydrogen of the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry and SMEs, Joachim Nunes de Almeida, stated that the EPCA has taken our relations to a new level and is a milestone in EU-Kazakhstan relations.

During the BEC meeting, a discussion titled, “The Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement as a Basis for Economic Cooperation between Kazakhstan and the EU – State and Challenges of Cooperation and Priorities for Further Implementation” was held that aimed to discuss the implementation of the provisions of the Agreement in the main areas of interaction.

The Deputy Managing Director of the European External Action Service (EEAS) for Russia, Eastern Partnership, Central Asia, Regional Cooperation and OSCE, Luc Devigne, and Director of the Department of Industrial Policy of the Ministry of Industry and Construction of Kazakhstan, Laura Sadykova attended the event.

Also, the Head of Eastern Europe, South Caucasus, and Central Asia of the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, André Fritsche, and Managing Partner of Strategic Minds Company GmbH, Joachim Lang attended the session.

Likewise, a second discussion was held on “Bringing business and people together – improving the framework conditions for business and humanitarian contacts” which focused on visa facilitation for Kazakh citizens and tourism development as the main factors for expanding bilateral ties.

The EPCA envisaged the possibility of negotiating an agreement on visa facilitation for citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the European Union.

Also read: Kazakhstan, EU to bolster strategic ties

During the second session, it was noted that the formal consultations initiated this year on the facilitation of the visa regime for the people of Kazakhstan should lead to concrete results in the short term, for further comprehensive development of mutually beneficial cooperation.

Apart from that, the experts also discussed possible ways to implement these provisions and their effect on the establishment of contacts between entrepreneurs and citizens of Kazakhstan and the EU.

Besides, the Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister, the Special Representative of the European Union for Central Asia, Terhi Hakala, a member of the Cabinet of the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Raul Hernandez Sagrera, Honorary Consul of Kazakhstan in Belgium, Anna Susarova, and Chairman of the Board of JSC “Science Foundation”, Abdilda Shamenov also attended the second session.