Current issues of cooperation between Kazakhstan and the EU have been discussed in Brussels during the visit of the Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan.
Roman Vassilenko, Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister, held a series of meetings in Brussels with senior representatives of the main institutions of the European Union to discuss topical issues of bilateral cooperation and the international agenda.
During his meetings with Camilo Villarino, Head of the Cabinet of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Luc Devigne, Deputy Managing Director of the European External Action Service and Magdalena Grono, Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the European Council President, they discussed the implementation of agreements reached following the visit of EU President Charles Michel to Astana and the talks between the Head of State and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen held in autumn 2022.
In the context of this year's celebration of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Kazakhstan and the EU, Vassilenko emphasized at the talks the active development of political dialogue at the highest level, economic and trade and investment cooperation, and constructive engagement on human rights issues as factors determining the intensive nature of our future cooperation.
In a focus of discussion were the further steps on effective and full realization of the Agreement on the Expanded Partnership and Cooperation between Kazakhstan and EU, covering 29 spheres of interaction, and preparation for the forthcoming events, both in bilateral and multilateral formats. In particular, the participants in the meetings discussed issues relating to the 20th anniversary meeting of the RK-EU Cooperation Council, the RK-EU Cooperation Committees in political and trade configurations, as well as the Second Central Asia-European Union Economic Forum.
The Kazakh diplomat separately informed his partners of the implementation of the Head of State's large-scale political and socio-economic reforms aimed at building a Fair Kazakhstan. Special attention was paid to the preparation of the country for the early elections to Mazhilis and Maslikhats scheduled for March 19, 2023.
There was a detailed exchange of opinions on topical issues of the international agenda, including the conflict in Ukraine, as well as the need to minimize the possible negative consequences for Kazakhstan's economy of the sanctions confrontation around it.
The European side noted the rich bilateral and multilateral agenda and expressed its interest in further strengthening cooperation with Kazakhstan and implementing the provisions of the EPCA. According to Villarino, effective cooperation between the European Union and Kazakhstan has recently become increasingly important.
The interlocutors agreed on the importance of maintaining the positive dynamics of political dialogue in order to further strengthen cooperation amid global turbulence.Meanwhile, Croatian Experts Praised the Political Transformations in Kazakhstan.
An expert meeting was held at the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Croatia on the early elections of deputies of the Mazhilis of the Parliament and Maslikhats of Kazakhstan with the participation of prominent public figures, deputies of the Sabor, Croatian diplomats, media representatives, NGOs and the business community of Croatia.
Altay Abibullayev, Ambassador of Kazakhstan, informed the participants in detail about preparation to the upcoming elections, the activities of the Central Election Commission of Kazakhstan to monitor the observance of citizens' electoral rights, as well as the progress of the pre-election campaign in Kazakhstan. In light of the new changes in the Constitution of the country, the principal innovations of the upcoming parliamentary elections, as well as the political and socio-economic reforms of President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev were noted. The Ambassador also said that for the observation of the elections in Kazakhstan is expected a large number of international observers from 10 international organizations and states, as well as journalists from around the world, including Croatia.
During the discussion the participants stressed the importance of fundamental democratic, human rights and system transformations in our country, and exchanged opinions on the importance of the coming elections for the future of Kazakhstan and Kazakh-Croatian cooperation. So, the vice-speaker of Sabor of the Croatian Parliament, a member of Kazakhstan-Croatian inter-parliamentary group on cooperation Davorko Vidovic who has visited Kazakhstan recently, gave high estimation to internal political processes in our country, having expressed confidence of continuation of a strategic course of internal and foreign policy by Kazakhstan.
According to Vidovich, the Balkan countries have experienced the tragic years of formation of their statehood, and therefore greatly appreciate the importance of progressive reforms, peaceful coexistence with neighboring countries and interethnic harmony in society as in Kazakhstan. He is convinced that according to the results of the parliamentary elections, the inter-parliamentary cooperation between the new composition of Mazhilis and Croatian Sabor will reach a new level of friendship and mutual trust.
The judge of the Constitutional Court of Croatia Mato Arlovic, stressing the transparency of the election campaign, expressed his hope that the institute of the Constitutional Court recently created in Kazakhstan will contribute to further strengthening of the rule of law, democratic standards and stability.
Representatives of the group of inter-parliamentary cooperation in the Croatian Parliament Davor Ivo Stir and Stepan Vukas also noted with satisfaction the dynamic development of Kazakh-Croatian relations and readiness to activate inter-parliamentary dialogue with the organization of a visit of Croatian parliamentarians to Astana.
Charis Boko, Expert and head of EU business think-tank, made a special emphasis on the role Kazakhstan plays today in conditions of growing geopolitical instability, including in terms of diversification of transit and transport routes for delivery of Kazakhstani energy resources and raw materials. According to him, in the light of complex geopolitical challenges and tensions, a predictable and reliable partner such as Kazakhstan remains an important political, trade and economic partner of the European Union and the Western Balkans in Eurasia, and the upcoming parliamentary elections are designed to consolidate political reforms and democratic institutions in Kazakhstan.
At the end of the meeting Mr. Abibullaev said that on the election day - March 19 at the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Zagreb a polling station will be opened, where all Kazakh citizens with the right to vote, permanently residing or temporarily arriving in Croatia, will be able to vote.Meanwhile, in Hungary got acquainted with the implementation of political reforms and the upcoming parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan.
The expert meeting was held In the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Hungary, where results of political reforms of the President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and preparation for early elections of deputies of Mazhilis of Parliament and Maslikhats of the Republic of Kazakhstan were discussed.
In his speech Zhanibek Abdrashov, Ambassador of Kazakhstan, pointed out that upcoming parliamentary elections are the final stage of rebooting of state institutions, which gives a real content to the formula "Strong President - Influential Parliament - Accountable Government".
"Kazakhstan is modernizing its governance, strengthening political openness and ensuring equal access to economic opportunities, which means that it is on the right road to new democratic principles," Abdrashov said.
Speaking separately on the parliamentary elections and electoral campaign, the Kazakh diplomat noted that the systemic changes have laid the foundation for a revitalization of the party building in Kazakhstan.
"Due to simplified procedures for creation of new political unions seven parties have been registered in the country so far offering the electorate a wide choice to exercise their right to vote. Participation of these parties in competitive elections in the future will strengthen the multiparty system, developing the potential for political pluralism and opposition politics, thereby ensuring long-term stability of the political system as a whole and the effectiveness of solutions to the pressing problems of citizens", - stressed the Ambassador.
The experts held parallels between the electoral systems of Hungary and Kazakhstan and received comprehensive information about the peculiarities of the mixed proportional-majoritarian model of the upcoming elections, the legal provision for setting a 30% quota for women, youth and people with special needs in distributing the mandates of the MPs by party lists, which aims to ensure better representation of all groups in the Parliament, and the CEC interaction practice with international observers. The participants of the event were given handouts of information materials.
The Hungarian experts noted that the new rules will increase competition in the formation of the branches of government and will allow the deputies to more fully represent the interests of voters, and they wished the upcoming elections success.