Page last updated at 15:38 GMT, Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Debate on EU-Kazakhstan relations

MEPs held a debate on 21 November 2012 on negotiations towards a partnership agreement between the EU and Kazakhstan.

Talks are underway with the Kazakh authorities about the possibility of developing an "enhanced partnership and co-operation agreement" between the EU and the ex-Soviet republic.

Kazakhstan is the size of Western Europe and has vast mineral resources and enormous economic potential.

There has been major foreign investment in the Caspian oil sector, bringing rapid economic growth, averaging about 8% in the decade since 2000.

A report into the negotiations by the Foreign Affairs Committee says further co-operation could bring benefits to Kazakhstan, but that more needs to be done to tackle the country's human rights record.

There is particular concern about the sentencing of certain opposition politicians for "inciting social discord".

The committee also recommends launching negotiations on a visa liberalisation agreement with Kazakhstan.

The report was voted on during the daily voting session on 22 November 2012.

Useful links:

Democracy Live's guide to how the plenary sessions work.

A disclaimer on the use of simultaneous interpretations, on the European Parliament's website.

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