Deepening Austrian-Kazakh Relations: Focus on Economic and Political Cooperation

PeopleDiplomats ♦ Published: March 18, 2024; 15:18 ♦ (Vindobona)

At a time characterized by geopolitical tensions and economic challenges, Austria and Kazakhstan have reaffirmed their intention to raise bilateral relations to a new level. The working visit of Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Murat Nurtleu to Vienna marks an important milestone in the cooperation between the two countries, with a particular focus on the economy, politics, and security.

Austrian Foreign Minister Schallenberg met with Kazakhstan's Murat Nurtleu to discuss security and economic cooperation opportunities and address Russian aggression in Ukraine. / Picture: © Kazakh and Austrian crossed flags by

During his visit, Minister Nurtleu met leading representatives of Austrian companies from various sectors, including construction, logistics, and mechanical engineering. The talks focused on ambitious projects such as the construction of a production facility for ceramic tiles and building materials in Astana by the Lasselsberger Group. This project not only plans to create over 200 jobs but also aims to strengthen local production and reduce dependence on imports.

Gebrüder Weiss' expansion plans in the area of multimodal freight transportation and the expansion of warehouse capacities in Kazakhstan underline the importance of the region as a logistics hub between Europe and Asia. Another forward-looking project is the digitalization project of the Kazakh railroad in cooperation with Plasser & Theurer, which aims to revolutionize efficiency, safety, and maintenance processes.

These economic initiatives are embedded in a broader political commitment, which became clear during the bilateral negotiations between Nurtleu and his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg. The ministers discussed deepening political interactions and outlined a series of upcoming high-level visits and events.

The meeting also provided an opportunity to reaffirm common positions on international issues, including support for landlocked countries and promotion of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Austria acknowledged Kazakhstan's active role in the OSCE and emphasized the need to use the organization as a platform for dialogue between states.

The trade relations between Austria and Kazakhstan, which have reached an unprecedented level, were also highlighted. With a bilateral trade volume of almost 2 billion euros and an increase in Austrian exports of over 45%, the economic outlook is positive. Schallenberg sees great potential in the infrastructure and logistics sector in particular and emphasizes the importance of the Foreign Ministry's support for Austrian companies.

The geopolitical challenges, in particular the effects of the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine, were also the focus of the talks. Both ministers agreed on the importance of preventing the circumvention of EU sanctions against Russia and emphasized the importance of a stable European security architecture for the region.

In conclusion, Schallenberg emphasized the strategic importance of Kazakhstan for Europe, particularly given its "multi-vector foreign policy", and spoke out in favor of increased security and economic policy cooperation. The strengthening of bilateral relations between Austria and Kazakhstan, which encompasses both economic and political dimensions, is a clear sign of the commitment of both nations to jointly open up new horizons and meet the challenges in a rapidly changing geopolitical environment.

Austrian MFA

Kazakhstan MFA