On November 20, the Seventh European Union and Central Asia Ministerial Meeting took place in Brussels. Kazakhstan was represented by Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov.
During the meeting, Foreign Ministers discussed the regional cooperation within the framework of the EU Strategy for Central Asia, and identified prospects of further cooperation growth.
The Ministers reviewed and discussed the EU key initiatives in the Central Asia aimed at reforming the judicial system, improve standards and quality of education, environment, and increase turnover of the mutual trade and investment flows.
The participants noted Kazakhstan’s active role in implementation of the regional EU Strategy. In particular, the next meeting within the EU's Rule of Law Initiative in Central Asia, was proposed to hold in Astana in 2014 and was supported by all the parties involved.
Within discussion on rule of law, the participants discussed the legal cooperation towards the fight against terrorism, corruption and organized crime. In this context, Minister Idrissov emphasized the progress achieved on Kazakhstan's accession to 6 key European conventions in the spheres of crime and anti-corruption. He called on all the structures of the EU to support Kazakhstan’s initiative aimed at further harmonization of the national legislation in line with best international practices.
According to the Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan, one of the main directions of partnership with the EU is cooperation in innovations and technologies and their attraction to Kazakhstan, as well as cooperation in education. He called on the EU to join the “Green Bridge” partnership program by supporting transfer of innovative “green” technologies into the region of Central Asia. “We can find a drop-in solution for the current regional issues, including water resources, if we apply innovative approaches in areas like energy and water resources” Minister Idrissov said.
The Participants reviewed the security issues in Central Asia, including the forthcoming withdrawal of the international forces from Afghanistan, the fight against new global threats and poverty, and promotion of development of the Central Asian states.
After the Ministerial Meeting, Erlan Idrissov held separate bilateral talks with the Chair of the General Discussion Linus Linkevičius, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania (Lithuania is the Chairman of the EU Council until December 31, 2013) and Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Development. They discussed EU programs for assistance to the Central Asia, various aspects of political and economic cooperation, widening the access for Kazakhstan airlines to the European airspace, as well as issues of facilitating the visa regime for citizens of Kazakhstan. E.Idrissov called on the European Commission to provide its maximum assistance to the negotiations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan and the EU institutions on the visa issues. “This is one of the most important topics. Upon receipt of Schengen visas in some European embassies, our citizens often get complex multi-level testing procedures. We would like to have a more active contribution from the EU institutions in this matter," E.Idrissov said.