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José Manuel Durão Barroso

President of the European Commission

Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Karim Massimov, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan

Press point

Brussels, 2 May 2012

It is a pleasure to welcome Prime Minister Karim Massimov of Kazakhstan to the European Commission.

We just had a very productive and open meeting, where we took stock of our bilateral relations.

Kazakhstan is an important partner for the EU in Central Asia and we want to further our ties. The Prime Minister's visit to Brussels is an additional sign of the interest that we both share in deepening our cooperation.

Indeed, the EU and Kazakhstan have launched negotiations on a new enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. It is the only one that we have now with a Central Asian country. I expressed to the Prime Minister my trust that our commitment to improve our relations should be a catalyst for further political and economic reforms in Kazakhstan.

These reforms are important for Kazakhstan and its people and they are fundamental to improve the chances of success in our renewed PCA negotiations.

Kazakhstan has made impressive progress since its independence. This has been witnessed by us all!

Advancing democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms such as freedom of expression, association and assembly should be a natural step in the development of today's societies. We have discussed this today very openly with the Prime Minister. I also believe this is the best way to guarantee stability. I told the Prime Minister that I am convinced that we can make this journey together.

Trade relations are another important part of our relationship and they are bound to get stronger too. The EU is already a major trading partner and the biggest investor in Kazakhstan. And we want our trade and investment relations to improve.

We fully support Kazakhstan's accession to the World Trade Organization and we are ready to work swiftly and constructively to bring this accession process to a successful conclusion. Kazakhstan can count on our support on this important objective and we also look forward to see good progress on our bilateral protocol.

During our meeting we also discussed the importance of Kazakhstan as an energy partner of the European Union. We have made solid progress in this area over the years and I am convinced that the new PCA (Partnership and Cooperation Agreement) that we are negotiating will bring new opportunities for cooperation also in the field of energy.

To conclude, I would like to thank Prime Minister Massimov for his commitment to EU-Kazakhstan relations. Kazakhstan is a key country in Central Asia and a leading partner for the European Union in our ambition to increase and improve our ties with this important region of the world. In fact, we have been improving very much our bilateral contacts with Kazakhstan. I remember receiving here President Nazarbayev and Commissioner Oettinger was also recently in Kazakhstan, so we are making our best to give an even stronger impetus to this relationship. We look forward to continuing our open and frank dialogue with Kazakhstan, its leaders, and its people, and to build an even stronger relationship.

I thank you for your attention.

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