27 March, 2019

​Kazakhstan and Council of Europe Discuss Strengthening New-Phase Cooperation

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Kazakhstan is interested in the further development of broad cooperation with the Council of Europe, particularly in the field of ensuring the rule of law, modernizing the justice system and acceding to the relevant conventions of this international organization. 

This was stated by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan Roman Vassilenko on March 26, 2019 in Strasbourg, speaking at the meeting of the Rapporteur Group of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on external relations. This event was devoted to the upcoming launch of the second phase of the Council of Europe's Neighborhood Co-operation Priorities for Kazakhstan 2019-2022 programme, as part of the Rule of Law Central Asia-wide regional project.

Delivering the speech, the representative of the Foreign Ministry noted that Kazakhstan has been actively cooperating with the organization and its bodies since 1997, using the opportunity to participate in conventions open to non-CE countries. In addition, the country fruitfully interacts with the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, which allows for the exchange of best practices in improving legislation. Based on the relevant agreement, parliamentary cooperation is being developed - since 2004 Kazakh MPs have been regularly taking an active part in sessions of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

The Kazakh diplomat stressed the importance of preserving and keeping interaction with the Council of Europe in the light of consistently implemented reforms in Kazakhstan aimed at strengthening the independence of the judiciary, humanizing criminal legislation, and protecting human rights and freedoms.

Speaking about the recent changes in the political life of the country, Roman Vassilenko quoted the words of First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan - Elbasy Nursultan Nazarbayev that “Future Kazakhstan is the Universal Labour Society. This is a state with a strong economy, where everything is done for the people. Where there is the best education, the best healthcare. Where peace and tranquility reign. Where citizens are free and equal, and power is fair. Where there is the rule of law." The diplomat emphasized that delivering the first speech as Head of State, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev reaffirmed his commitment to continuing the strategic course of the First President both at home and abroad.

As it is known, in July 2018, the Joint Programme between the European Union and the Council of Europe “Support to the Kazakh Authorities in Improving the Quality and Efficiency of the Kazakh Justice System" was successfully completed. The Programme was developed in close cooperation with Kazakh state agencies as a strategic basis for cooperation in the field of criminal justice. The goal of the Programme was to improve the standards of the legal framework of Kazakhstan in accordance with the best practices of the justice system.

As a result of the implementation of the Programme, Kazakhstan joined three legal instruments of the Council of Europe in the field of criminal justice, namely, the Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism, Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters and Protocol amending the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. Work is underway on accession to other criminal justice conventions.

Moreover, in 2015 Kazakhstan received the observer status at the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors (CCPE), and in 2018 - at the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) and Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE).

“We are also confident that closer cooperation with the Council of Europe on important development issues will further strengthen the potential of our region," Roman Vassilenko said, welcoming CE plans to use successful experience of cooperation with Kazakhstan throughout Central Asia.

The meeting participants expressed unanimous support for the further implementation of the Programme and welcomed Kazakhstan's progress in ensuring the rule of law, expressing readiness for further close cooperation in areas such as combating corruption, ensuring gender equality, and protecting the rights and freedoms of citizens. High representatives of such countries as Austria, Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Turkey, Spain, and many others welcomed the recent political developments in Kazakhstan and the country's commitment to further democratic advancement.

On the same day, a meeting of the Kazakh delegation with Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni was held in Strasbourg, where specific plans for cooperation between the state and the Council of Europe were discussed. As an important factor in strengthening cooperation, the sides discussed the preparations for opening a regional office of the Council of Europe in Kazakhstan in the near future.

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