Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev starts an official visit to Bucharest on Thursday, the Romanian Presidency has announced. His visit to Romania is part of a tour of several European Union countries including Slovakia and Hungary at a time when the EU is trying to cut down its energy dependence on Russia and looking for alternative sources of energy supplies.

The Kazakh leader's tour started in Bratislava on Wednesday and will conclude Saturday November 24.

Cooperation with the European Union is one of the top foreign policy priorities for Kazakhstan, a Kazakh Foreign Ministry spokesman has said, quoted by the Romanian public radio. He said that Bratislava, Bucharest and Budapest are interested in luring Kazakhstan towards the European markets not only as a fuel provider but also as an alternative route for Asia-made goods.

Kazakhstan became one of the main foreign investors in Romania this year after Kazakh company KazMunayGaz, bought a 75% stake in Romanian oil group Rompetrol in August. The transaction recently received the approval of European competition authorities.