France Kazakhstan Consulate General Strasbourg European Union

Kazakhstan inaugurates its Consulate general in Strasbourg and sets its sights on the European union

On May 17, 2021, Kazakhstan inaugurated its Consulate General in Strasbourg in order to get closer to the Grand Est region and the European Union. This will reinforce France’s status as the leading partner to Central Asia.

This article was originally published on Novastan’s French website on the 25th of May 2021.

It is a step closer to one another for Kazakhstan and France. On May 17th 2021, Kazakhstan’s former diplomatic mission in Strasbourg has been officially transformed into a Consulate General, as the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in France has announced on its Facebook page. The consulate will have the mission to cover the Grand Est region as well as to develop closer relations with the European Union (EU), whose Parliament is based in Strasbourg.

During the ceremony, Anuarbek Akhmetov was named as the Consul-General of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Strasbourg. The event was attended by the ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan in France, Jean Galiev, the first vice-president of the Grand Est region, Jean-Luc Bohl, as well as French senator and the regional councillor for the Grand Est, André Reichdart. The Norwegian Björn Berge, deputy secretary to the Council of Europe, was also present. In addition to these four, representatives of the diplomatic corps were also present, likewise representatives of the city’s town hall and Kazakh students, according to the embassy.

A Special Position

This Consulate General holds a special position in the sphere of Kazakh diplomacy in France. Whilst the embassy has a consular service, it distinguishes itself from the biggest country in Central Asia’s other three honorary consulates in Lyon, Nice, and Rennes. As a Kazakh diplomatic source pointed out to Novastan, the latter honorary consulates are run by French citizens and are used as assistance.

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The new consulate in Strasbourg has many aims. As much as carrying out basic consular services in the Grand Est region, the consulate must also promote commercial and humanitarian cooperation between the countries, as the Kazakh Minister of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. Equally, Kazakhstan hopes to develop cooperation in the digital, agri-food and renewable energy sectors – three sectors that are very present in this territory, as Jean Galiev noted during the inauguration.

A New Diplomatic Reach

As Kazakh media outlet Khabar24 explains, interest in a Consulate General in Strasbourg was reignited by the intensification of diplomatic relations with Western Europe, and in particular France, but also with the Council of Europe. From an economic standpoint, France is one of the most important investors in Kazakhstan whilst Nur-Sultan is Paris’ first Central Asian economic partner.

This position was mentioned by the French Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade, Franck Riester, in an interview with the Kazakh media outlet Kazinform. According to the minister, France is Kazakhstan’s 8th largest partner.

More broadly, Nur-Sultan is looking to the European Union and the Council of Europe. On 19 March 2021, the sixth session of the EU-Kazakhstan Investment Cooperation Dialogue was held. During this session, Kazakh Prime Minister Askar Mamin called on EU ambassadors to establish a new dialogue to promote Kazakhstan’s economic development. With this Consulate General in Strasbourg, Nur-Sultan aims to have a more serious representation in the European institutions in order to bring diplomatic relations with Europe to a new level.

Novastan Editorial Team

Translated from French by Molly Arnold

Edited par Anna Wilhelmi

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