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09/19/08

Special Issue No 14


ROAD TO EUROPE
Kazakhstan announces its strategic plan on furthering ties with
European countries in 2009-2011
 

Category: General
Posted by: admin

 
Kazakhstan
News Bulletin
Released by the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United States of America

 

Special Issue No 14, September 19, 2008


ROAD TO EUROPE
Kazakhstan announces its strategic plan on furthering ties with
European countries in 2009-2011


On September 4, 2008 Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev approved the strategic national program “Road to Europe” for the years 2009-2011.

According to observers, “The program is aimed at raising the level of strategic partnership with leading European countries through Kazakhstan-Europe trade boost, joint transport network plans, adjustment of standards and regulations to the EU norms as well as improvement of Kazakh legislation with due account of the European experience”.

The program represents a serious and long-term vision and effort to bring Kazakhstan closer to Europe and its values. Kazakhstan’s “Road to Europe” is clearly not about “geography”, rather it is about the country’s sincere aspiration and endeavor to associate itself with best technological, economic, business, educational, social and civic standards of the West in general. Kazakhstan aims to nurture and adopt these values and practices in its emerging society and this example is expected to cast positive impulses throughout the region.


The program sets three major goals:

• first, stepping up cooperation between Kazakhstan and European countries in technology, energy, transport, trade, living standards, humanitarian cooperation and small business development;

• second, improving Kazakh legislation by perfecting laws on media and elections, conducting reforms in the state administration and legal system, liberalizing political system;

• third goal is to have Kazakhstan properly prepared for the OSCE Chairmanship in 2010.


TECHNOLOGY, ENERGY AND TRANSPORT COOPERATION

Technology cooperation with European countries should be aimed primarily at the attraction of advanced new technologies to Kazakhstan. Such cooperation, including on nanotechnology and biotechnology, is to enhance the capacity of Kazakhstan’s technological parks and overall technological capacity. It is vital to develop a network of information exchange in the areas of science, new technologies and innovations.   

The essence of this goal is to provide for progressive implementation of European standards and regulations in Kazakhstan’s practice. It is also hoped that such an approach will open access for Kazakh agricultural products to European markets and enhance Kazakh-European cooperation in agriculture.

Kazakhstan plans to continue acquiring energy infrastructure facilities in European countries to consolidate its presence in the European markets.

It is important to explore and adopt European principles of energy efficiency, investment protection, access to energy transport infrastructure, tariff reform etc. Cooperation on renewable energy is another important element of the program.

Further development of Eurasian transcontinental transport corridors is to be promoted. The program targets enhancing the integration of the national transport system with all-European transport chain.        

Deepening trade and economic partnership

Trade turnover between Kazakhstan and European countries is on the rise. Bearing in mind that Kazakhstan’s export is mainly raw materials and mineral resources, the Government concentrates its efforts on diversifying the economy by promoting investments in processing industries.

In order to deepen trade and economic ties between Kazakhstan and European countries, Kazakhstan will establish an umbrella Trade Mission in Europe with branch offices in a number of countries.

The main objectives of the Trade Mission in Europe will be the following:

- analyze the influence of European economic policies on Kazakhstan’s economic interests and presence in the European markets;
- analyze European trade legislation and provide for fuller compliance of Kazakhstan’s trade laws with internationally recognized instruments;
- draft recommendations to Kazakh businesses on promoting their products in the European markets;
- create favorable conditions for Kazakh companies to facilitate their access to international markets;
- diversify the structure of Kazakhstan’s export to Europe, including within the framework of the General System of Preferences (GSP).   
SME Development

Cooperation with Europe on SME development is to provide further improvement of Kazakhstan’s investment climate. The program is aimed at providing for greater compliance of Kazakhstan’s legislation  with European laws and regulations on small and medium businesses; improving the taxation system, providing secure access to bank loans and other financial instruments, implementing joint business projects, sharing respective experience in structuring the state support for business development.

Cooperation on technical regulations and metrology

Cooperation on technical regulations and metrology is to raise the level of food safety, increase competitiveness, reduce technical barriers to trade, and decrease administrative pressure on businesses in Kazakhstan.

The program’s objectives include attracting new European technologies in the areas of transport and communications, agriculture, energy, environment and health protection.

Introduction of new technologies will be accompanied by the adoption of fresh technical standards and regulatory framework. Besides, the program envisages revamping of Kazakhstan’s laboratories and research centers to comply with European standards.

Cooperation on raising the living standards

The program envisages enhancing Kazakhstan’s cooperation with European countries in this vital area to raise the living standards and environmental protection in Kazakhstan up to European level. This includes joint projects on protecting and researching biodiversity, addressing climate change and clean up of polluted rivers, lakes and land.

Another dimension of this cooperation is the improvement of the medical services quality in compliance with European standards with Kazakhstan’s priorities being medical technology, infrastructure and management, training and scientific exchange, prevention, diagnostics and treatment of illnesses, availability and quality of drugs, and higher nutrition standards.

High quality professional education is the next important aspect of cooperation in this area. European experience and standards will be the basis for reforming the national system of education. Various approaches are planned to implement these reforms, including Kazakhstan’s participation in the European exchange programs (Erasmus Mundus and TEMPUS) and on the bilateral level with certain European countries.

This part of the program takes due account of all major social issues, including employment, labor migration, support of the disadvantaged and disabled, etc.

Human dimension

Kazakhstan will enhance its active support for building partnerships among local and European civil society institutions, promote ideological integration and the development of social partnership.

European experience will be used in further promotion of a balanced gender policy.

Kazakhstan, in turn, is ready to share its experience and expertise in building effective mechanisms of promoting and maintaining religious and ethnic tolerance.


INSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL FRAMEWORK

Kazakhstan’s Government strives to reform and modernize legislative, political and economic networks, including public administration and judiciary systems, legislation on elections, media and political parties. These efforts are aimed at liberalizing Kazakhstan’s political system and adjusting it to the best international practices by setting up professional trainings for Kazakh officials in European structures and promoting exchanges among Kazakh and European state agencies.

PRIORITIES OF KAZAKHSTAN’S OSCE CHAIRMANSHIP

In light of its forthcoming OSCE presidency, Kazakhstan is in the process of laying down its Chairmanship priorities. They will be focused on promoting democratic institutions throughout the OSCE space, enhancement of transit and transport potential of the OSCE member countries, environmental security, confidence building and regional security, nuclear disarmament, fight against terrorism, extremism, drug and human trafficking as well as assistance to Afghanistan.


PROGRAM’S EXPECTED RESULTS

• Strategic partnership with leading European countries in political, economic and cultural areas;
• Increase of annual trade turnover with European countries by 10%
• Exchange of top level official visits with no less than 5 European countries annually;
• Signing MOUs with the European Union on the development of transport routes to link Kazakhstan to all-European transport networks;
• Adoption of technical regulations and standards in compliance with EU norms;
• Improvement of the national legislation in accordance with European standards;
• Promoting Kazakhstan’s interests in Europe.
  

News Bulletin of the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Contact person: Zhanbolat Ussenov
Tel.: 202-232-5488 ext 104; Fax: 202-232-5845
E-mail:zhan@kazakhembus.com
 Web-site: www.kazakhembus.com