PM encourages stronger Vietnam-EU ties

Vietnam attaches importance to developing stronger ties with the European Union (EU) and it wants to work closely with the EU to strengthen all-round cooperation in a practical and effective manner.

EC Vice President Catherine Ashton

PM Nguyen Tan Dung (R) proposed stronger Vietnam-EU ties at a meeting with EC Vice President Catherine Ashton in Hanoi on August 12 (Photo: VGP).

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung made the statement at a reception for visiting European Commission Vice President Catherine Ashton in Hanoi on August 12.

He noted the positive development of Vietnam-EU relations in recent times and said Ashton’s current visit and the upcoming visit to Vietnam by EC President Manuel Barroso will bring fresh impetus to bilateral relations.  

Dung proposed that the EU soon ratify the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with Vietnam, and conclude negotiations of a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two sides.

As both sides have huge potential for cooperation, the PCA ratification and FTA signing will help their trade and investment ties to prosper in the near future, he told Ashton.

The PM expressed hope the EU will continue providing official development assistance (ODA) for Vietnam and soon recognise its market economy status.

For her part, Ashton, who is also foreign policy chief of the EU, said her visit and Barroso’s upcoming visit, as well as regular meetings between the two sides, are testimony to the fine relations between the EU and Vietnam, showing the EU’s desire to tighten ties with Vietnam.

She announced the EU’s decision to increase ODA to Vietnam by 30% for 2014-2020 compared to the 2007-2013 period.

She said the EU is striving to ratify the PCA and conclude FTA negotiations with Vietnam at the earliest possible time. She went on to say that the two sides need to cooperate closely to ensure Vietnam meets the EU’s criteria to be recognised as a market economy.

Regarding the recent tensions in the East Sea, Ashton said this is an important issue which was discussed at the recent 47th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) in Myanmar.

The EU is aware of the importance of using international law as an effective tool for settling international disputes, she said.

She expressed hope that ASEAN and China will soon formulate a Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea to address pending issues at sea, so as to maintain peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region.

The EU diplomat told his host that during her meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of AMM 47 in Myanmar, she stressed any maritime disputes in the East Sea should be tackled through peaceful measures in accordance with international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

She shared the view that China’s unjustifiable ‘nine-dotted line’ claim that covers almost the East Sea area is the root cause of the dispute that may threaten peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea and the whole region.

Vietnam, EU work to enhance bilateral cooperation

Vietnam and the European Union (EU) have pledged to step up efforts to conclude negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement (EVFTA) by October this year.

During talks between Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and Vice President of the European Commission (EC) and High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton in Hanoi on August 12, both sides agreed to speed up the EU’s early recognition of Vietnam as a market economy.

Deputy PM Minh thanked the EU and its member states for their precious support for Vietnam during the country’s national development and international integration.

He appreciated the union’s decision to increase official development assistance (ODA) for Vietnam to 400 million EUR for the 2014-2020 period, up 30 percent compared to that of the 2007-2013 period.

Ashton spoke highly of Vietnam’s socio-economic development achievements as well as its increasing role and position in the regional and global arenas.

Both host and guest expressed pleasure with the rapid and positive development of the bilateral ties in all fields. The EU is now the largest export market, the biggest non-refundable aid provider and leading investor of Vietnam . Despite difficulties in the world economy, two-way trade last year reached over 33.7 billion USD, up 16 percent over the previous year.

The two sides agreed that in the future, Vietnam and the EU will increase the exchange of high-level delegations and continue creating favourable conditions for their businesses to invest in each other’s market, particularly in the fields of industry, infrastructure, transport, energy, finance, health care, tourism and service.

They also agreed to promote partnership in specific areas, including education-training, science-technology, natural resources and environment, agriculture and rural development, justice, culture-tourism, information-communication, transport and construction.

Vietnam and the EU will strengthen dialogue and collaboration at regional and international forums, especially the United Nations, the Asia-Europe Meeting, as well as within the framework of the ASEAN-EU cooperation.

Vietnam hailed the union for its contributions to the building of the ASEAN Community, and its engagement in sub-regional cooperation initiatives, as well as its commitment to playing an active and constructive role in the evolving regional architecture with ASEAN being the core in East Asia , Minh said.

As the coordinator for ASEAN-EU relations for the 2012-2015 period, Vietnam will try its best to boost the effective and practical development of bilateral ties, he added.

During her stay in Vietnam, Ashton visited the President Ho Chi Minh relic site, the Women Museum and the Hoa Lo Prison historical site.


EC Vice President Catherine Ashton