The annual forum was also attended by the Foreign Ministers of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, a Deputy Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan and Vice-President of the European Commission – High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.
The central event of the conference was the official presentation of the new EU Strategy for Central Asia. In her remarks, Federica Mogherini elaborated on how and in what form the process of implementing the main provisions of the Strategy will take place.
The Kazakh Foreign Minister welcomed the inclusion in the text of the Strategy of a number of Kazakhstan’s proposals for the development of private entrepreneurship, including women’s entrepreneurship, small and medium-sized businesses, transport and logistics infrastructure, energy efficiency, environmental protection, climate change, rational use of water resources, education, digitalisation, etc.
“Kazakhstan notes the importance of the return of bilateral EU projects to Kazakhstan, as well as the possibility of implementing joint EU-CA programmes with third countries”, the Minister said.
During the debate, the participants exchanged views on the key issues of the EU-CA cooperation agenda and its joint implementation. The Kazakh delegation proposed to use the potential of the EU’s mechanism Investment Facility for Central Asia (IFCA) and the capabilities of the European Investment Bank (EIB) to finance regional projects, as well as to conduct “virtual institutionalisation” of EU-CA cooperation in order to increase efficiency and public awareness of the political decisions taken within this format.
Special attention was paid to regional security issues, including the continuation and expansion of the joint Border Management Programme in Central Asia (BOMCA) with the European Union, Central Asia Drug Action Programme (CADAP) and the intensification of cooperation through Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre (CARICC).
As a result of the event, the Foreign Ministers and the EU High Representative adopted the Final communiqué “EU and Central Asia: Creating a Stronger Partnership Together”. The text states that the EU intends to use all available instruments to support the national efforts of the Central Asian countries, the successful integration of the region into the world trading system and the promotion of intraregional cooperation.
“Under the new Strategy, Kazakhstan proposes to focus on the effective use of the EU-CA relations toolkit, as well as on the integrity and ensuring of visualisation and visual perception of the EU-CA cooperation”, the Kazakh Minister said.
The parties also supported the earlier proposal of Kazakhstan and other parties to establish a European Union – Central Asia Economic Forum, which will serve as a basis for establishing practical cooperation between European and Central Asian business, and welcomed the proposal of Kyrgyzstan to hold the first such forum in this country.
The Communiqué also highlighted the role of Federica Mogherini in strengthening relations between the European Union and Central Asia during her work as the head of the EU foreign policy.
The next EU-CA Ministerial meeting is expected to take place in Brussels in 2020.
Kazakhstan presented High Award to EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
In addition to the main events of the 15th “European Union - Central Asia” Ministerial Conference, one more important event took place. Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Beibut Atamkulov held talks with Vice President of the European Commission - High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.
During the meeting, the sides discussed topical issues of cooperation between Kazakhstan and the EU, including the implementation of bilateral agreements reached during the visit of President of the European Council Donald Tusk to Nur-Sultan in May 2019.
The two sides noted the importance of the timely and effective implementation of the Agreement on Kazakhstan-EU Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation and the new EU Strategy for Central Asia, including through the development of joint development programmes.
“We expect that the new Strategy will give a powerful impetus to our interaction and will serve as the beginning of closer and more coordinated cooperation aimed at achieving concrete practical results for the benefit of each country and region as a whole”, B. Atamkulov stated.
The Kazakh Minister noted that Kazakhstan became the first country in the Central Asian region, which signed the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement in 2015, the effective implementation of which will give a qualitative impetus to relations across the entire spectrum of mutual interests.
Speaking about the prospects for the development of trade and economic cooperation, great importance was attached to the new format of meetings on economic and business issues with ambassadors of EU member states with the participation of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan. The first meeting took place on July 1 this year.
The Foreign Minister thanked Federica Mogherini for her personal contribution to the development of friendly relations between Kazakhstan and the EU and on behalf of President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, presented the high-ranking European politician with the Dostyk Order, I Degree. F. Mogherini made a significant contribution to the development of EU strategic documents on cooperation with Kazakhstan and Central Asia.
In turn, the High Representative expressed her sincere thanks to the leadership of the country and the people of Kazakhstan for appreciating her activities, assuring that in the future she will work to strengthen the mutually beneficial cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan.
It should be noted the Dostyk Order is the highest state award of Kazakhstan, awarded to foreign citizens for their contribution to the strengthening of peace, friendship and cooperation among nations. The corresponding decree on awarding F. Mogherini was signed by the President of Kazakhstan on July 2, 2019.