03/09/2014 08:53 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Vietnam and the EU Look Towards the Future

The President of the European Commission (EC) José Manuel Durão Barroso, paid an official visit to Vietnam from August 25-26, 2014 at the invitation of the Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Nguyen Tan Dung. The visit was aimed at intensifying and promoting Vietnam-EU multi-faceted cooperation, including the early conclusion of negotiations for the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).
It was the second visit to Vietnam by José Manuel Durão Barroso in the position of EC President so the visit marked an important development in cooperation and relations between Vietnam and the EU as Barroso’s speech emphasised at a press conference before his visit to Vietnam.

President Barroso expressed his pleasure in returning to Vietnam since 2007 and witnessing first-hand Vietnam's impressive socio-economic achievements. He said that since his first visit to Vietnam, the bilateral relations have developed strongly and comprehensively and Vietnam has made substantial progress in its transition to a market economy initiated by the Doi moi policy and since it joined in the World Trade Organisation. The people’s living standards have much improved and the inflation and exchange rate are stable.

President of the European Commission (EC) José Manuel Durão Barroso pays an official visit to Vietnam at the
invitation of  Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Nguyen Tan Dung. Photo: Thong Nhat – VNA

The welcoming ceremony for EC President Barroso is held at the Presidential Palace. Photo: Duc Tam – VNA

The talks between Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and EC President Barroso at the Government’s headquarters.
Photo: Duc Tam – VNA

The two leaders witness the signing of a document on the EU's decision to provide 2.65 million Euros for
Vietnam's international trade and sustainable investment in the 2014-2017 period. Photo: Duc Tam – VNA

  Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and EC President Barroso at a press conference. Photo: Duc Tam – VNA

EC President Barroso said that the signing of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) in 2012 that he and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung launched negotiations was an important landmark in EU-Vietnam relations. In the future, if the two sides conclude negotiations quickly for EVFTA, it would be the second important milestone in Vietnam-EU relations.

The leaders welcomed good progress in negotiations towards a Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement and expressed the wish to conclude the negotiations swiftly. They emphasized that a mutually-beneficial Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will offer new business opportunities for economic operators, enhance inflows of Foreign Direct Investment and promote growth and employment.

During the talks and meetings with Vietnamese leaders, including Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, State President Truong Tan Sang, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, EC Barroso underlined the commitment of the EU to its relations with Vietnam, appreciating Vietnam's role as an important partner for the EU and a key player in ASEAN and internationally.

EC President Barroso applauded Vietnam’s progresses in solving challenges during the process of socialization. The EU side welcomed Vietnam's election to the UN Human Rights Council in November 2013 as a sign of determination to further promote and protect human rights.


Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong receives EC President Barroso. Photo: Tri Dung – VNA

State President Truong Tan Sang receives EC President Barroso. Photo: Nguyen Khang – VNA
During the talks with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, the two sides agreed to increase exchanges of delegations, support each other at regional and international forums and create favourable conditions for businesses in each other's markets.
They also agreed to increase co-operation in a wide range of areas, particularly those where the EU is strong, such as education and training, natural resources and environment, agriculture and rural development, transport and construction.
The two sides stressed the importance of ASEAN – EU cooperation to the region and appreciated the agreements made by both sides' Foreign Ministries during the recent 20th ASEAN – EU Ministerial Meeting in Brussels in July 2014, including working towards the upgrading of the partnership to a strategic one and enhancing cooperation in ASEAN Connectivity and maritime security and safety. In this regards, the EU highly appreciated the role and efforts of Vietnam as the current Country Coordinator of the ASEAN – EU relationship and as Co-chair of the Ministerial Meeting in achieving those results. President Barroso further stressed strong commitment to ASEAN centrality in the evolving regional architecture and support to ASEAN Community building efforts, including the ASEAN post – 2015 Agenda.


Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Le Hoang Quan receives EC President Barroso.
Photo: Thanh Vu – VNA

EC President Barroso meets representatives from European businesses, Euro Cham
and the Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Thanh Vu – VNA

EC President Barroso is awarded an Honorary Doctorate at the National Economics University.
Photo: Duong Giang – VNA

EC President Barroso visits the War Remnant Museum in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Thanh Vu – VNA

EC President Barroso lays a wreath at Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum. Photo: Duong Giang - VNA

The two leaders discussed the ongoing tensions in the South China Sea/East Sea and agreed that territorial disputes should be settled peacefully in a spirit of cooperation and respect of international law, including the United nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS 1982). EC President Barroso reiterated the EU's support for a political-diplomatic process and the rights of claimants to seek peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law, including through legal dispute settlement mechanisms. EC President Barroso also affirmed the EU's support of ongoing efforts to work towards a formal and legally binding Code of Conduct. The EU calls on all parties in the meantime to avoid unilateral actions that escalate tensions, threaten peace, stability, maritime security and safety in the region and abide by all other elements of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).

With the above strong commitments, it is expected that the official visit to Vietnam by EC President Barroso will help develop and expanding multi-faced cooperation between Vietnam and the EU, bringing practical benefits to both sides and actively contribute to peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world.

The EU is Vietnam's largest export market and 2nd largest trade partner. Trade relations reached 27 billion euros (USD 36 billion) in 2013, an increase of 20% each year. The EC and EU countries are Vietnam’s largest donor. The EC pledges to increase its assistance to Vietnam for the period 2014-2020 to 400 million euros.