Kazakh President to begin visit meeting with EU leaders

The President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, is starting his visit to Brussels today to meet with EU leaders. The visit

EU Kazakhstan

Photo: Office of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan

The President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, is starting his visit to Brussels today to meet with EU leaders.

The visit comes after a larger meeting between the EU’s foreign policy head, Josep Borrell, and the foreign ministers of Central Asia. At the conference, Tokayev spoke of Kazakhstan taking a leadership role in Central Asia. Observers noted that Tokayev’s remarks aligned with his focus on increasing Kazakhstan’s economic ties within the region. This trip likely aims to further support Tokayev’s goals of increased diplomacy and economic ties.

Challenging the visit is Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) recent call for EU leaders to be more critical of human rights violations in Central Asia. Kazakhstan’s human rights abuses have included stifling non-profits, creating “misinformation laws” that threaten free speech and not investigating the death of human rights activists. However, Tokayev has actually implemented several reforms, though not as aggressively as groups like HRW want.

The EU has supported economic development in Kazakhstan in the past, particularly as a way to help Kazakhstan achieve the kind of reforms that HRW wants. As long as Tokayev can show the EU that Kazakhstan is keeping up these changes, the EU will continue to be a partner.

Wake up smarter with an assessment of the stories that will make headlines in the next 24 hours. Download The Daily Brief.