Kazakh FM presents Kazakhstan proposals for new EU strategy on Central Asia
The agenda was focused on a new draft European Union Strategy on Central Asia. According to Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Kairat Abdrakhmanov, Central Asia is one of the dynamically developing regions of the world, which plays an important strategic role and has significant human and high economic potential, as including excellent natural and industrial resources.
In its vision of the new Strategy, the Kazakh side put an emphasis on the development of human capital through education, promotion of the rule of law and high-quality public administration, development of private entrepreneurship, small and medium-sized business focusing on women’s entrepreneurship.
The growing involvement of Central Asia in global economic processes also requires, in the opinion of the Kazakh delegation, closer cooperation between the two regions. It includes the introduction of a new technological paradigm and digitalization elements, interfacing the transport and logistics infrastructure of the sides, sharing experience in energy efficiency and introducing green technologies. Critical is the issue of environmental protection and rational use of water resources, as well as joint assistance to the restoration and stabilization of Afghanistan. According to the Kazakh side, these and other measures should be taken into account in the document.
In addition, Abdrakhmanov drew the participants’ attention to the main provisions of the article by President N. Nazarbayev titled ‘Seven Facets of the Great Steppe’. This details how Kazakhstan plans to implement large-scale projects on bringing up to date the centuries-old historical heritage and adapting archival, archaeological and other data to be understood and used by citizens under the conditions of digital civilization.
The interaction of the EU and Central Asia with the largest economic projects in the Eurasian space, namely the Eurasian Economic Union and the Belt and Road initiative, can make Central Asia an important link in global economic relations. The minister informed about the readiness of Astana, if necessary, to provide a platform for the start of a dialogue on EU-EAEU-PRC interaction.
Touching upon the future implementation of the document, Mr. Abdrakhmanov drew attention to the need to comply with three key elements: ensuring the integrity of cooperation in the EU-Central Asia format, creating more flexible tools for the practical implementation of the Strategy, as well as enhancing its visual perception.
For example, to achieve the latter, Kazakhstan proposed the creation of a single online portal that would provide “virtual institutionalization” of cooperation and could become a universal online window to Europe for 70 million Central Asians.
Following the plenary session, the sides adopted a joint communiqué, in which they stressed the importance of adopting a new strategy in early 2019 “to guide the development of region-to-region relations in a way that brings mutual, tangible and long-term benefits”.