Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov visited Hungary and participated in the workshop “Kazakhstan-European Union”
Jan 29. MFA
On January 28, Head of the Kazakhstan Ministry of Foreign Affairs Erlan Idrissov visited the Hungarian Republic. This visit is one of the destinations along the European tour aimed at realization of the agreements on cooperation with the European Union (EU) reached during recent negotiations held by President Nursultan Nazarbayev with world leaders in Davos.
In Budapest, the Kazakhstan’s delegation headed by the Foreign Minister participated in the international workshop “Strengthening partnership: Republic of Kazakhstan- EU”. Among the members of the delegation were representatives of Kazakhstan’s think-tanks and governmental bodies, including Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Industry and new Technologies, as well as Kazakhstan’s Institute of Strategic Studies, Institute of Oriental studies, European Information Center and others.
The workshop was aimed at defining priorities and the parties’ standing on the most significant vectors of mutually beneficial cooperation, as well as at unleashing new potential for cooperation.
Priority directions of development of the Kazakhstan-EU partnership were reflected in main panel discussions: general questions of the Kazakhstan-EU cooperation (Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, opening access to the “European sky” for Kazakhstan airway companies, visa regime liberalization for Kazakhstan citizens), regional security (new challenges and threats, military withdrawal by the international coalition from Afghanistan), and energy (“greening” of the Kazakhstan’s economy, technology transfer, EXPO-2017).
The European side was represented by a large group of experts and official figures, including EU Special Representative for Central Asia Patricia Flor, high level officers of the European Union External Action Service, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary János Martonyi and other ministers of the Hungarian cabinet.
In his greeting speech Minister Idrissov emphasized this meeting had special importance for Kazakhstan. EU is Kazakhstan’s largest trade and economic partner, whose share amount to a half of total Kazakhstan’s foreign trade. Trade turnover indicator for 2012 amounted to US$ 53 trillion – the highest level during the history of cooperation, while for the period of January-October of the last year the turnover reached US$ 46 trillion. 47% of the foreign investments attracted to the Kazakhstan’s economy originated from the EU.
An important subject of the discussion was preparation of the new Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. This document is aimed at building a legal framework for transition to a more mature and dynamic stage of the partnership between Kazakhstan and EU. “It is fundamentally important to us to make the Enhanced Agreement efficient in opening new prospects, specifically in such areas as liberalization of visa regime for Kazakhstan citizens, cooperation in science, technology and innovation spheres. In other words, the Agreement must allow us to eliminate artificial obstacles to strengthening ties in the areas of science and business between our citizens”, Erlan Idrissov underlined.
In his speech, Hungarian Foreign Minister János Martonyi noted that Kazakhstan plays a role of a “bridge to the East” for his country, and Hungary, in its turn, is ready to become a “bridge to the West” for Kazakhstan. “We share common history and roots. According to many studies, historical motherland of the Hungarians lies on the territory of the modern Kazakhstan”, the head of the Hungarian diplomacy said. He underscored that his cabinet colleagues and himself are ready to provide maximum possible facilitation for further rapprochement between Kazakhstan and the EU. This was proved by organizing the workshop in Budapest.
During the meeting, importance of the EU as a major energy partner was emphasized. Around 70% of Kazakhstan’s oil export is shipped to the EU countries, including Italy, Netherlands, France, Austria and Romania. Kazakhstan-EU cooperation in the area of innovations, science and engineering areas was another significant subject of the discussions.
During the workshop, the parties discussed their expectations in relation to the change in international military presence in Afghanistan. In addition, proposals on prospective development of the Kazakhstan- EU relations, including in such spheres as energy, new technology, transport, environmental protection, agriculture, education, professional training and other were collaborated.
Besides, during the visit to Budapest Erlan Idrissov held bilateral meetings with his Hungarian colleague János Martonyi, Minister of National Economy Mihály Varga and Minister of Rural Development Sándor Fazekas. During the bilateral meetings the counterparts discussed the current state and prospects of the Kazakhstan-Hungary cooperation, preparation to the upcoming during this year visit of the president Nursultan Nazarbayev to Hungary, as well as cooperation in the spheres of trade, economy, agriculture and education.