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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev
3 June 2013
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am delighted to visit Kazakhstan at the invitation of President Nazarbayev. I remember well his visit to Brussels. It was a very successful visit to the European Commission and I believe it gave a great contribution to the deepening of our relationship. I am also very proud that this is the first ever visit by a President of the European Commission to Kazakhstan.
And it is also timely because it takes place not only on the 20th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the European Commission and Kazakhstan, but also in a moment when our relationship is growing in depth and breath, not only in the economic area, but also in the political and security dialogue.
We are committed to open a new era in our relations through the conclusion of the negotiations of a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. This agreement will be a new generation, an enhanced and more comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.
Our aim is to broaden the scope of our cooperation in all areas of mutual interest, and to support Kazakhstan’s reform and modernisation efforts. When we spoke about these issues during the very fruitful meeting we just had President Nazarbayev and myself, we agreed that modernisation is not just about economic development. It is also about good governance and rule of law. We agreed on the importance of continuing our cooperation in these areas.
The Partnership and Cooperation Agreement will also provide a solid framework to further intensify our already dynamic economic relations.
The EU is Kazakhstan's biggest trading partner by far with about 40% share in its total external trade. The 31 billion EUR bilateral trade between the EU and Kazakhstan has been growing rapidly over the past decade, including in the last couple of years despite the economic difficulties in Europe. European investment is also the most important investment in Kazakhstan through European companies that are present and active in your country. This European investment is also part of the great efforts of modernisation and innovation of the economy of this country.
And all this has the potential to be further enhanced with the prospect of Kazakhstan's accession to the WTO. The EU has always been very supportive of Kazakhstan joining the WTO. I am most pleased to be able to confirm here today that our trade negotiators have found agreement on the substantive elements of the bilateral terms of Kazakhstan's WTO accession, and we look forward to signing the deal soon.
Kazakhstan is also a strategic energy partner and has been a reliable supplier of oil to the EU over the past decade.
The upcoming opening of the Kashagan oil field is a symbol of the mutual beneficial relations and investments that we have in this area.
But in a world of limited resources we need to decouple economic growth from resources use. This is why we very much support Kazakhstan's strategy of economic diversification and its focus on green growth. The EU also has a sustainable growth strategy and there is a lot of potential for cooperation between Kazakhstan and Europe in renewable and energy efficiency areas.
But our relations go well beyond the economic dimension and also beyond simply bilateral issues. We very much appreciate Kazakhstan's role in promoting regional cooperation in Central Asia. Only by working together will be possible to address the common challenges that all the countries in the region face, from terrorism and extremism, to drug trafficking or water management.
Kazakhstan has come very far since independence and we are delighted to have contributed also in some part through European investment and trade to your success story.
We very much respect your country and admire the resilience of your people. We very much respect your traditions. That is why I believe part of our future agreement should also be about people-to-people contacts so that Kazakhstan and the European Union can know each other better, can know well each other's specificities and challenges. I really believe it is in the interest both of Kazakhstan and the European Union to deepen in a very open and sincere spirit this cooperation.
We have been partners in these last 20 years and I hope that today's conversations will lay the basis for what I am sure will be a strong partnership for the 21st century.
I thank you for your attention and once again Mr President I thank you for your hospitality and for the quality of our talks.