Kazakhstan Looks for Visa-Free Travel to EU

NISI20150311_0010709072Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of Kazakhstan paid a working visit to Brussels on March 30. Meetings were held with Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission and Donald Tusk, president of the European Council.

Kazakh president urged the EU for the visa-free regime for the citizens of Kazakhstan to visit European countries, according to a report of Sputnik News. He pointed out the importance of visa-free travels for short-term visits to Europe. He demanded this by adding that the country is ready to fulfill all regulations.

Kazakhstan signed the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA) with EU in 2015. At the meeting, he said: “During the last 23 years, we have had good relations with the EU. Today, Kazakhstan is the only post-Soviet country to have concluded an EPCA with the EU,” and “On May 1, we can start to temporarily use the economic side of the EPCA. Today, I asked Junker to speed up the ratification of the agreement among EU member states,” The Astana Times reports.

As an addition to the visa issue, Kazakh president, and the EU officials discussed various issues such as the crisis in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia. Nazarbayev expressed his thoughts about the negative effect of the sanctions over the economy of Kazakhstan because of its neighborhood and regional cooperation with Russia.

As one of the biggest energy suppliers to Europe, Kazakhstan hosts big EU investments, up to its 50% of foreign capitals. Astana tries to improve relations with EU, sometimes implements a mediation policy to solve regional conflicts. In this situation, Kazakhstan seems as the biggest partner in Central Asia for the EU. The country also assumed the great importance of European market at the period of economic stagnation and a danger of the crisis.

The role of Russia in the relations with Kazakhstan becomes a concern for Western countries. Kazakhstan’s membership to the Eurasian Economic Union under the Russian leadership is one of the main hesitations of EU. Nazarbayev describes the function of this organization by saying, “Just an economic cooperation with regional states.”

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