Kazakh-German Cooperation To Strengthen Through Support Of Ethnic Germans
Kazakhstan and Germany will continue supporting ethnic Germans and promoting their ethnocultural identity. This was agreed by the participants of the 17th Meeting of the Kazakh-German Intergovernmental Commission on ethnic Germans living in Kazakhstan recently held in Nur-Sultan.
The Kazakh delegation was headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vassilenko and the German delegation by Federal Government Commissioner for Matters Related to Ethnic German Resettlers and National Minorities Bernd Fabritius.
The Kazakh diplomat stressed that the 200,000 Germans living in Kazakhstan and 900,000 Kazakhs in Germany represented a “living bridge" between the two countries, and were the key to the long-term development of Kazakh-German relations.
During the meeting, the Commission addressed the development of the German community in Kazakhstan – fr om culture and education, including promoting the German language in schools and universities, to the development of a business-friendly environment. Both sides have a shared understanding of the importance of the preservation by Kazakh citizens of the historical and current German nationality in Kazakhstan.
Mr. Fabritius noted the uniqueness of Kazakhstan's experience, systematically and purposefully pursuing a policy of interethnic, intercultural, and interreligious understanding and tolerance. “Kazakhstan is a multinational country with different ethnicities living peacefully. Much credit goes to First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Elbasy Nursultan Nazarbayev," said the German politician. He also thanked the People's Assembly of Kazakhstan for supporting the German diaspora.
Chairman of the Governing Body of the “Kazakhstan Society of German Revival" Public Fund and deputy of the Kazakh Mazhilis Albert Rau spoke about the fund's work. In 2018, around 675 youth, ethnocultural, linguistic, educational and social projects were implemented across 14 regions and three cities for the benefit of Kazakh Germans. Mr. Rau emphasized that the development of the German language was one of the main priorities for the preservation of Kazakh Germans' national identity. Today, more than 11,000 students study German as a foreign language, in more than 170 schools.
Visa facilitation for Kazakh citizens was one of the crucial issues of the meeting. It was noted that since January 2017, Kazakhstan has unilaterally extended its visa-free regime for citizens from 45 countries, including Germany. This makes it possible for immigrants living in Germany to visit their relatives and friends in Kazakhstan more often. In this regard, the German partners were requested to consider simplifying the visa procedure for citizens of Kazakhstan.
The sides discussed potential cooperation regarding economic and educational development. They also highlighted the great potential of agricultural cooperation, wh ere the German diaspora of Kazakhstan is actively engaged.
Following the meeting, a joint Communique of the Commission was signed, outlining further actions and projects to support ethnic Germans living in Kazakhstan. The Commission was established under the Intergovernmental Agreement on supporting citizens of Kazakhstan of German nationality, signed in May 1996.