Vietnam – EU relations

President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy on Friday concluded a 3-day visit to Vietnam, the first by an EC President since the two sides established diplomatic relations in 1990. The outcomes of the visit show that business and trade, politics, and development cooperation remain the three pillars of the Vietnam – EU relationship. VOV comments:


Vietnam – EU relations - ảnh 1
EC President Herman Vam Rompuy works with President Truong Tan Sang (Photo: vietnamnet)

Herman Van Rompuy, Head of the most powerful body of the European Union was received by the Vietnamese Party, State, Government and National Assembly leaders. During the talks, Vietnam’s top leaders affirmed Vietnam’s consistency in its renewal process and open foreign policy. Vietnam values multi-faceted cooperation with the EU. Both sides agreed to cooperate in regional and global forums, especially the UN, the Asia – Europe Meeting (ASEM), and the ASEAN – EU cooperation framework. The leaders stressed the need to ensure maritime security, safety, and freedom in the East Sea, resolve disputes by peaceful means under international law, fully comply with the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and complete the Code of Conduct (COC).

Regarding economic and trade cooperation, both sides pledged to offer more incentives for their companies to do long-term business in the other’s market, especially in industry, infrastructure, transport, energy, finance, healthcare, tourism, and services. The EU agreed to provide technical support, advance the signing of the Vietnam – EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA), and boost the early recognition of Vietnam’s market economy status.

The above cooperative orientations are based on impressive bilateral cooperation outcomes in recent years. The EU is one of Vietnam’s top trade and investment partners, and donors while Vietnam is one of the EU’s top 5 trade partners in ASEAN.

Trade revenue increased from 17 billion USD in 2010 to 24 billion USD last year. The signing of the Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) and the first round of negotiation of the Free Trade Agreement were specific and important steps to boost economic and political cooperation between Vietnam and EU member countries. Ambassador Franz Jessen, Head of the EU Delegation in Vietnam said: It's very good to see that in terms of the EU-Vietnam relations, the crisis has not hurt our trade relationship. This year so far, what we see has been a strong growing trade from Vietnam to the EU and from the EU to Vietnam. The FTA, as we see, is for the interest of Vietnam and also for the interest of the EU. We are good partners and we should do more. We should be able to more ambitious in our relationship.

In term of development cooperation, the EU provided Vietnam ODA of over 13 billion USD from 1993 to 2011. Rompuy promises to continue helping Vietnam with ODA programs cooperative priority from 2014 to 2020, focusing on poverty reduction, sustainable development, environmental protection, and climate change adaptation.

The two sides signed a 150 million EUR contract to finance climate adaptation funded by the European Investment Bank, and a statement on the signing of the EU Multilateral Trade Assistance Project. Vietnam and the EU also agreed to enhance cooperation in education and training, science and technology, natural resources and the environment, and agriculture and rural development.

Over the past 20 years, Vietnam – EU relations have been strengthened and promoted. The visit by the EC President will further deepen the bilateral relations in the future.