José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan
Brussels, 26 October 2010
Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to welcome President Nazarbayev to Brussels. This meeting reflects the importance of the partnership between the European Union and Kazakhstan, which is growing day by day.
We had a very productive, wide-ranging discussion today covering many topics, both strategic issues – given the importance of Kazakhstan for Europe - and concrete bilateral issues.
I have stressed the EU's firm commitment to upgrade our already excellent relations with Kazakhstan through the negotiation of an enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. We are currently discussing the mandate with our 27 Member States and are confident that we will be able to launch talks by the end of this year or early next year.
In this context, we also discussed the critical field of energy. As President Nazarbayev noted, the EU is the largest foreign investor in Kazakhstan. Two-thirds of this investment goes to the field of energy. Today, Kazakhstan also signs a declaration of intent with the European Investment Bank on a package of energy-related projects.
All this shows that Kazakhstan and the EU share an interest in the diversification of energy routes and an open investment climate. This is a win-win partnership! I know how strongly President Nazarbayev is personally committed to this very important trade and investment partnership.
The European Union also fully supports Kazakhstan's accession to the World Trade Organization. Concluding these negotiations rapidly would be good for business and investments in Kazakhstan, and good the European Union and the world trade order as such.
I am therefore looking forward to progress on the Kazakh side. We on our part want to conclude the bilateral negotiations – on which we have made progress - as soon as possible.
Open trade is crucial to sustain the global economic recovery, which we will also discuss further at the G20-Summit in Seoul in November. At that Summit I will make a strong case for open trade globally.
Finally, we also addressed other issues in a spirit of partnership and openness, including issues related to political reforms and human rights.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
You see that the EU and Kazakhstan share a very substantive agenda, which we will deepen in the next months and years.
The European Union is also looking forward to a successful and substantial OSCE Summit in Astana at the beginning of December. We share the important expectations of the Kazakh Government for this key event!
I am grateful for President Nazarbayev's invitation and I can confirm in principle that I will attend the Summit. The European Commission has an important contribution to make, notably on the human dimension of the OSCE agenda.
I would like to thank you also, Mr President, for the kind invitation for a bilateral visit to Kazakhstan. I am curious to see how you have been implementing economic reforms and your commitment to further political reforms.
Thank you, Mr President, for coming to Brussels at this very important moment.