EU Ambassador Sven-Olov Carlsson used the opportunity to hand over a congratulation level from High Representative/ Vice President Federica Mogherini to Minister Tileuberdi on his recent appointment as foreign minister. Ambassador Carlsson underlined that the European Union is Kazakhstan's biggest foreign investor and that Kazakhstan is the closest economic and political partner in the region for the EU. In line with the new EU strategy for Central Asia the EU will also attach increasing importance to the regional dimension of its cooperation policy, with particular focus on rule of law, support for investment and trade facilitation. Minister Tileuberdi stressed that Kazakhstan’s recent decision to open six new embassies in different European Union member states, clearly shows its dedication to further develop the relations with the EU.
Apart from the questions of regional cooperation the sides also discussed connectivity, environmental challenges and other aspects of bilateral and international relations. Both sides welcomed the ratification of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA) by all EU Member States and agreed that this represents a pivotal moment for the further developement of the EU-Kazakhstan relations.
The EPCA was signed in December 2015 and today this is the main document framing the EU’s relations with Kazakhstan. EPCA is a so-called new generation agreement, which also serves as a model of future cooperation for other countries. It is not by chance that Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are following the Kazakh example towards similar framework agreements with the EU. The EPCA provides significant boost to economic and political ties between the EU and Kazakhstan. For example, in 1999, total trade amounted to USD 2.2 billion; and in 2018, European countries and Kazakhstan traded more than EUR 26 billion worth of goods.