By Kamila Aliyeva
Kazakhstan hopes for facilitation of the visa regime with the countries of the European Union.
The Kazakh Foreign Ministry announced about this in a message released following a meeting of Kazakh FM Kairat Abdrakhmanov with a German Bundestag delegation.
The delegation was led by the head of the Germany-Central Asia Parliamentary Friendship Group, Manfred Grund.
Abdrakhmanov stressed the need for further expansion of people-to-people contacts between Germany and Kazakhstan, and the EU and Kazakhstan in general, noting that Kazakhstan is taking serious steps to this end.
Previously, Kazakhstan introduced a visa-free regime for the OECD and EU nationals, holding any passport type, for a stay for a period of up to 30 days. Astana is also taking other measures to facilitate visits of foreign investors, business delegations and tourists to the country.
“Kazakhstan is improving the standards in the sphere of control of citizens’ documents, the country does not pose a risk of migration, and therefore counts on counter-steps from the European side to facilitate the visa regime for Kazakh citizens’ visits to the Schengen Area, which will correspond to the agreement on enhanced partnership and cooperation between Kazakhstan and the EU,” the Foreign Ministry said.
The European Union and Kazakhstan signed an Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA) in Astana on December 21, 2015. This agreement, which constitutes the first of its kind signed by the EU with one of its Central Asian partners, elevates relations between the EU and Kazakhstan to a new level.
In 1991- 2014 the EU funded more than 350 projects in Kazakhstan for the total amount of 180 million euros, which have been allocated to policy advice and technical assistance to various ministries, agencies and committees of the government of Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan has not received any new bilateral assistance from the EU since 2014. Nevertheless, since 2014 Kazakhstan participates in European Union’s regional Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) program for the Central Asia for 2014-2020.
The program envisages projects in five Central Asian countries with a total budget of 245 million euros.
The EU will launch 9 new projects worth almost 3.76 million euros in Kazakhstan in 2017 in the sphere of juridical reform, democracy and human rights, NGO and local public administration.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz