International Cooperation

Central Asia


15 October 2015

Strengthening cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan

Photo from the meeting
Cristina Russo meets with Mr Shkolnik

Maria Cristina Russo, the Director for International Cooperation of DG RTD paid her first visit to Astana on 1-2 October 2015. Mrs Russo had a number of bilateral meetings with the high-level officials of Kazakhstan, in particular, with Minister for Investment and Development Mr Asset Issekeshev, Minister of Energy Mr Vladimir Shkolnik, First Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Rapil Zhoshybayev and Vice-Minister of Education and Science Mr Yessengazy Imangaliyev.

At the meeting with Minister for Investment and Development Mr Asset Issekeshev, Mrs Russo underlined: “The EU-Kazakhstan Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA), initialled on 20 January 2015, will greatly facilitate stronger bilateral political, economic and strategic relations. We look forward in using this new agreement to enhance our cooperation, including in the areas of research and innovation. In this regard, we encourage Kazakhstan's active participation in the "Horizon 2020" programme, the EU main tool in promoting closer cooperation in the field of research, innovation and energy.”

The visit offered the opportunity to put emphasis upon to the new Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, particularly on the chapters dedicated to the cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan in the field of research and innovation. Kazakhstani officials underlined the importance attached to the new EPCA in the view of Kazakhstan's plans on strengthening the national economy. Parties also discussed topics related to the potential participation of Kazakhstan in the SESAME infrastructure.

To exchange views on cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan, Mrs Russo met with Minister of Energy Mr Vladimir Shkolnik. "The main purpose of my visit is to express the importance given by the EU to the enhanced partnership and cooperation and underline our fruitful relations with Kazakhstan, and the role of research and innovation collaboration, in particular in the field of Energy, in building constructive relations in the future,"- said Cristina Russo. There is also the growing importance of Kazakhstan as a major energy supplier for the EU. Kazakhstan supplies around 5-6% of the EU oil demand and meets more than 21% of the EU uranium demand.

In the framework of the visit, the 2nd Policy Stakeholders Conference of IncoNet CA "EU – Central Asia Cooperation in Addressing Energy Research and Innovation" and the workshop "The European Union – Kazakhstan: innovation through collaboration" were organised. Parties agreed to further develop substantive cooperation within the framework of "Horizon 2020".

EU cooperation with Kazakhstan's researchers was established more than 20 years ago. Only in the framework of the previous programme - FP7, 28 scientists took part in the joint projects. The INCONET CA and NCP promote collaboration with Kazakhstan. The project specifically looks at opportunities for collaboration in the areas of Climate Change, energy and Health. The European Union committed to continue its support to the ISTC, which recently moved to Astana. The ISTC is an international organisation with enlarged geographical scope dealing with projects on migration of Chemical, Biological and Nuclear Risks. The EU and Kazakhstan have two EUROATOM agreements on cooperation in the area of "nuclear safety" and "controlled nuclear fusion".


Policy Background

The European Union (EU) and Central Asian countries share the common goal of achieving stability and prosperity by means of peaceful interaction, political cooperation and economic development. The EU is strongly committed to strengthening its relations in all areas of cooperation with Central Asian countries. This effort is implemented through "The EU-Central Asia: Strategy for a New Partnership", adopted by the European Council in June 2007 which aims at strengthening the cooperation between the EU and Central Asia, especially reinforcing the cooperation in human rights, education, rule of law, energy and transport, environment and water, common threats and trade and economic relations.

Increased cooperation in the field of science and research is of mutual interest for the EU and the Central Asian countries because the two regions share numerous scientific challenges. Investments and cooperation focusses on innovation and especially on innovative agriculture and sustainable energy.



IncoNet – CA (2013-2016)

The IncoNet CA project aims at supporting the advancement of the bi-regional STI (Science, Technology, and Innovation) policy dialogue between the EU Member States/Associated Countries and Central Asia, with an explicit focus on the societal challenges that have been identified to be of mutual interest for the two regions, namely: Climate Change, Energy and Health.




European Commission
DG Research and Innovation
Pantelis Tziveloglou
Policy Officer
Unit RTD C 1 - Policy Coordination, EFTA and Enlargement countries, Russia, Asia and Pacific
Tel: (+32) 229 89494
Pantelis Tziveloglou