EU seeks do deepen ties with Kazakhstan
The EU wishes to deepen and enrich relations with Kazakhstan, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said while speaking in Eurasian National University in Astana within his official visit to Kazakhstan, European Union's website reported.
"Kazakhstan is becoming these days an increasingly important partner for the EU in the region, not only due to trade and investment, but more importantly as a stable country with a proven track-record of harmony and tolerance, a tradition of which dates back beyond the Silk Route," Barroso said.
According to Barroso, the negotiation of a new and enhanced Partnership and Co-operation Agreement, which was initiated by both parties together, is the recognition of the importance of Kazakhstan for the European Union.
"The European Union is committed to successfully concluding these negotiations as soon as possible and we trust that our Kazakh partners jointly share this commitment," he said.
Barroso also noted Kazakhstan's achievements in economy and in energy sector in particular.
"The upcoming opening of the Kashagan oil field, one of the largest projects in the world in the past few decades, will become a symbol of what Kazakhstan has achieved in the energy sector. It is a symbol also of the strong relations between Kazakhstan and the European Union: multiple joint and mutual beneficial investments as well as substantial energy trade," he said.
European Union's aim is to broaden the scope of bilateral cooperation in all areas of mutual interest, and to support Kazakhstan's reform and modernization efforts, Barroso said.
According to Barroso, bilateral trade between the EU and Kazakhstan has been growing very rapidly during the last decade. The EU has progressively become Kazakhstan's leading trade partner, with about 40 percent of Kazakhstan's total external trade. Europe has also become the top investor in Kazakhstan, accounting for about half of the total foreign direct investments in the country. Kazakhstan-EU bilateral trade amounted to € 31 billion in 2012, three quarters of which were represented by Kazakh exports, in particular oil and gas which accounted for most of Kazakh exports.