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EU aims to step up cooperation with Vietnam

The European Union (EU) considers Vietnam a leading partner in the region and is implementing many specific policies and measures to enhance its cooperative relations with the Southeast Asian country, a senior EU official said on August 5.

During the talks with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh in Hanoi as part of her official visit to Vietnam from August 3-5, Federica Mogherini, Vice President of the European Commission and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, expressed her pleasure to visit Vietnam for the first time amidst active steps of development in the Vietnam-EU relations.

The two sides highly valued outcomes of high-level meetings between Vietnam and the EU over the past time as well as their partnerships in different areas like politics, national defence, economy-trade and development cooperation. They highlighted the recent signing of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA).

Host and guest agreed on the need to deepen the bilateral cooperation, towards a more dynamic period, matching potential and better meeting interests of both sides, especially in the context that Vietnam and the EU will mark the 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties in 2020.

The two sides will step up all-level exchanges and realise cooperation mechanisms in the time ahead.

They shared the views that economic, trade and investment cooperation is an important pillar of the Vietnam-EU ties.

Minh expressed his belief that Mogherini’s current visit will significantly contribute to boosting the Vietnam-EU partnership and comprehensive cooperation.

He took the occasion to thank the EC and the Vice President for accelerating the EVFTA and EVIPA.

In this regard, Mogherini described the signing of the deals as a milestone in the bilateral ties, and pledged to push ahead with ratification procedures, contributing to bringing about practical benefits to both sides.

Minh spoke highly of the EU and EU member states’ support for Vietnam during the country’s socio-economic development and international integration, while asking the EU side to maintain official development assistance for the Southeast Asian country so that it can enhance institutional capacity as well as ability to respond to climate change, helping promote sustainable development.

He urged the EU to soon remove “yellow card” warning on Vietnam’s seafood exports, and together with Vietnam to positively carry out the Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (VPA/FLEGT).

The EU official stressed the EU stands ready to cooperate with Vietnam in the fields, and maintain development collaboration with the country.

At the event, the host hailed the EU’s role in global security and peace as well as the bloc’s stance in maintaining stability and ensuring respect of international law in the region and in the East Sea, particularly in the context that there are unilateral actions which increase tension, erode trust, infringe upon interests and violate sovereignty of many countries.

Mogherini affirmed the EU’s consistent stance of supporting freedom of navigation and aviation, settling disputes by peaceful measures on the basis of respecting international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Recent militarisation and tension have negatively impacted on regional peace and stability, she said, expressing her hope ASEAN and China will soon reach a legally binding Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

Both sides also discussed regional and international issues of mutual concern, and agreed to bolster cooperation at multilateral forums, especially in 2020 when Vietnam assumes the role as the ASEAN Chair and a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2020-2021 tenure, in order to boost multilateral cooperation and ASEAN-EU collaboration, making contributions to peace, cooperation and development in the two regions and the world.