Published on Voltairenet.org, July 18, 2006, Ref: 11773/06 Presse 225 – The Cooperation Council between the European Union (EU) and the Republic of Kazakhstan held its eighth meeting on Tuesday 18 July 2006. The meeting was chaired by Mr Akhmetzhan Smagulovich Yessimov, Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The delegation of the European Union was led by Mr Pertti Torstila, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland. Mrs Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, represented the Commission. The incoming German Presidency was represented by Mr Ulrich Brandenburg, Deputy Political Director.
The Cooperation Council reaffirmed the desire to see EU – Kazakhstan relations continue to strengthen politically, economically and commercially, especially in the context of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between Kazakhstan and the EU, whose opportunities have yet to be fully exploited.
The Cooperation Council discussed the candidacy of Kazakhstan for the Chairmanship of the OSCE in 2009. It took note of the EU’s position, namely the need for any Chair to comply with the OSCE’s undertakings and standards, including those concerning the human dimension. It took note of the EU’s intention to reach a decision on this issue by the end of this year. In this context, the EU underlined the need for Kazakhstan to make progress in crucial areas such as the freedom of the media and the ability of political parties to operate freely, and it emphasised the need for Kazakhstan to follow the path of democratic reforms and full respect of individual Human Rights.
The Cooperation Council underlined the continued engagement of Kazakhstan to enhance regional cooperation, welcoming this crucial role which benefits conflict prevention and economic development. The Cooperation Council discussed the growing problem of illegal immigration to Kazakhstan, and recalled the EU’s offer of assistance to Kazakhstan in border management issues. It expressed concern about ongoing problems linked to corruption of migration and border officials. It welcomed the ratification by Kazakhstan in November 2005 of the Convention on the Fight against Human trafficking and Prostitution Exploitation by Third Parties, and the establishment of a special department at the Ministry of Interior to deal with these issues.
The Cooperation Council welcomed Kazakhstan’s efforts to improve its anti-money laundering legislation, with assistance by EU experts. The EU required Kazakhstan to enact equal treatment of all 25 EU Member States in its visa policy. The Cooperation Council welcomed continuing strong economic performance of Kazakhstan. It underlined that enhancing the transport of Kazakhstan’s energy resources to the EU is a common priority of both sides. It noted progress in co-operation in a large range of areas, and discussed further evolution in these fields, which include oil pipeline projects that will enhance EU security of supply, the diversification of natural gas export routes, nuclear energy, civil aviation and water resource management.
The Cooperation Council discussed the possibility of a concluding a new bilateral steel agreement, pending Kazakhstan’s accession to the WTO. It welcomed its continuing progress to this goal, hoping for it to address the important outstanding issues, such as multilateral and bilateral market access matters, the implementation of the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS) and a much-needed improvement in the investment climate; it welcomed the EU’s readiness to assist Kazakhstan in these matters.