On December 16, Republic of Kazakhstan celebrates its Independence: after the collapse of the USSR, Kazakhstani president signed the Law on the Proclamation of the Independence on December 16, 1991. Republic of Kazakhstan is a unique country situated in Central Asia, being the biggest landlocked country in the world, building even from ancient times a physical link between Europe and Asia, a country with vast oil reserves and other mineral resources and also home to the first and one of the few spaceflights launching facilities of the world, the well-known Baikonur cosmodrome, the point of departure for the first artificial satellite, for many spaceflights among which the flight of the Romanian cosmonaut Dumitru Prunariu in 1981. Astana is one of the youngest and most modern capitals, which this year celebrated its 20th anniversary.
In more than 25 years of diplomatic relations, Kazakhstan has become a key partner of Romania in Central Asia, engaged in a dynamic and fruitful dialogue both within bilateral as multilateral context. The development of the Romanian-Kazakhstani bilateral relations is supported by concrete and consistent areas of interest prone to mature cooperation.
The bilateral trade exchanges registered this year a significant increase, continuing the positive dynamics of last years. According to Romanian statistics, at the end of September 2018, a total volume of 1.29 billion USD was recorded, an increase of 45,62% on a year-to-year bases. A significant part of it continues to be oil. The International Oil and Gas Exhibition KIOGE 2018 held in the city of Almaty in September 2019 gave the Romanian companies an excellent opportunity to contact directly potential partners in Kazakhstan. While cooperation in this filed remains a priority, continuous joint efforts focus on diversification of these exchanges to make use of the real potential and needs of Romanian an Kazakhstani economies and keep up with the global trends.
A leading role in coordination of the main guidelines of bilateral cooperation is played by the Joint Intergovernmental Commission of economic, trade, technical and scientific cooperation, which is convened annually in Bucharest or Astana. The most recent, the XIV-th, working session was held in Astana in September 2018 and gave the opportunity for meetings and substantial discussions among high representatives and specialists from specialized ministries, as well as with representatives of the business environment. On that occasion, a Memorandum of cooperation between the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the city of Bucharest and the Chamber of Entrepreneurs of city of Astana was signed, a step complementing the framework opened with the Memorandum of Cooperation between the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania and the Chamber of Entrepreneurs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, signed in July 28, 2017, Astana).
The Romanian ethnic community and the Lectureship of Romanian language, culture and civilization at the Academician E.A. Buketov Karaganda State University are unique in Central Asia. Education and people-to-people contacts are key elements supporting mutual understanding and helping promote values shared by our countries, building bridges and facilitating exchanges in areas that surpass distance and geography. There is an increasing interest, that we welcome, from institutions and experts from both sides to intensify cooperation in the fields of education, science and culture.
As an independent state, the Republic of Kazakhstan has become a respected member of the international community. A good example is the remarkable way in which its diplomacy fulfilled the mandate as non-permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations in 2017-2018 period.
Last year the Republic of Kazakhstan hosted the prestigious event – EXPO 2017 Astana. Future energy, which provided an excellent occasion to reflect the degree of technological development achieved by the human society. It was not by chance that the Republic of Kazakhstan had been chosen in 2012 to host such a prestigious event, a premiere for the region. As President-in-Office of the Bureau International des Expositions, Romania contributed to the decision of selection of the Republic of Kazakhstan as the host-country.
In 2019 there will be new opportunities for interaction at bilateral and multilateral formats. Over the past decade, the European Union has become an active actor in Central Asia. It has expanded its diplomatic presence, increased its development cooperation and established cooperation mechanisms. On January 1, 2019 Romania will take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first semester, when the new EU Strategy on Central Asia is to be adopted. Moreover, the EU is setting an important focus on connectivity by recently adopting the Strategy on Connecting Europe and Asia. By virtue of geography, tradition and political engagement, in implementing these strategies, Kazakhstan will naturally have a very important role to play.
Romania has constantly supported the development of the relations between the European Union and the Republic of Kazakhstan, making strides to be among the first to have ratified the EU-Republic of Kazakhstan Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement and showing large interest in the process of implementation.
Now, it is the right time for congratulations taking into consideration also the approaching winter holiday and the New Year. Best wishes from Romania to Kazakhstan in its endeavor to build a modern thriving country with an open peaceful society and prosperous liberal economy.