Delegation of the European Union to Kazakhstan

Remarks by EU Ambassador Sven-Olov Carlsson at the Kazakhstan – Northern Europe Investment Roundtable

Nur-Sultan, 07/12/2020 - 07:43, UNIQUE ID: 201207_4
Speeches of the Ambassador


Ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for inviting me today to deliver brief closing remarks.

Th EU is the world’s main provider and the top global destination of foreign investment. Collectively we are also the biggest investor in Kazakhstan.

We do hope that investment flows disrupted by the pandemic will recover and help Kazakhstan achieve its ambitious development goals.

By contributing to economic growth, job creation and integration in global value chains, foreign investment tends to benefit host countries as well as home countries.

We welcome the renewed effort by Kazakhstan to improve conditions to attract new European investors, including from Nordic countries, as well as efforts to retain and expand existing investments.

We hope that the major reforms initiated by President Tokayev in September will lead to concrete changes that will improve investment climate and business environment.

There are a number of areas where improvements have been recommended by respected international actors such as the OECD, and which we share.

Allow me to recall some of the key recommendations.

Kazakhstan would do well to:

  • make the economy green and cut back dependence on oil, gas and coal;
  • increase digitalisation;
  • reduce state’s footprint in the economy and develop SMEs;
  • abandon special legal frameworks for SOEs at the expense of the private sector, exceptions to national treatment, open up protected sectors to competition;
  • improve the rule of law, transparency, and trust in local courts and arbitration;
  • resist the temptation of protectionism and work together to reduce barriers to trade and improve connectivity;
  • strengthen administrative capacity and expertise;
  • improve transparency and enforcement of competition law.

We are interested in engaging with Kazakhstan on these reforms. The EU-KZ EPCA, our ongoing and planned cooperation programmes enable us to carry regular dialogue, exchange best practice, share expertise in these priority areas.  

Crucial in my view is the implementation of the provisions of EPCA that affect business and investment. In particular, I have in mind the non-discriminatory access to markets, favourable regulatory framework for investing and doing business, protecting and fair treatment of investors, and access to justice and developed arbitration.

I am confident that together with their investment, Nordic members and partners of the EU can bring a wealth of relevant expertise to Kazakhstan.

From the EU’s side we are already supporting this through the funding and operation of programmes in Kazakhstan and the Central Asia Region. From the EU Delegation in Kazakhstan alone we manage a project portfolio worth more than EUR 100 million dealing with economic and private sector development; environment, climate change and water resources management; higher education, research and health; rule of law, security and human rights.

Looking ahead, we see great potential for enhancing our cooperation with Kazakhstan and the Central Asia region on tackling the climate change challenge and working towards attaining the 17 globally endorsed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Cutting-edge industry and services that can ensure the introduction of Best Available Techniques will be essential to realise the goals.

The EEAS and the European Commission are now preparing a so-called Team Europe Initiative in support of the EPCA’s effective implementation in close cooperation with EU Member States and International Financial Institutions. We expect the Initiative to be the flagship programme that will shape our cooperation for the coming seven-year period and make a decisive contribution to Kazakhstan’s transition to a green economy model and enhancement of the rule of law.

Thank you for your attention.