After taking over a year-long break, the European Union and Kazakhstan have reengaged in negotiations on an enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.
The negotiations, the third round of which were held October 9-10 in the Kazakhstani capital Astana, aim eventually to replace the current PCA. A statement issued by the EU delegation in Kazakhstan quoted the chief European negotiator, Gunnar Wiegand, as saying; “We covered most of the aspects of the new Agreement, including political dialogue, cooperation in foreign and security policy, economic cooperation, justice and home affairs, and people to people relations. At the next round, trade and investment provisions should also be negotiated."
While the two sides may be talking again, the discussions appear deadlocked due to mounting disagreements on political reform, including much needed attention to Kazakhstan’s Rule of Law and Human Rights record. Kazakhstan’s delayed accession to the World Trade Organization is another stumbling block.
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Jos Boonstra heads the EUCAM programme, and is a senior researcher for FRIDE. Tika Tsertsvadze is a EUCAM programme manager, and FRIDE advocacy officer.