Jan 21, 2013

Vietnam - Trong fortifies EU relations

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Vietnam and Belgium have cemented their multi-sided cooperation, with a special focus on “green” development.

Vietnam’s Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong last week began his official visits to Belgium, the European Union (EU), Italy, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland from January 17 to 24, 2013.

In Belgium, Trong met with Belgian Crown Prince Philippe, had talks with Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, Speaker of the Belgian House of Representatives Andre Flahaut, and President of the Belgian Senate Sabine De Betune. Trong said Vietnam attached great importance to strengthening cooperation with Belgium, a country playing a vital role in the EU.

The two sides agreed to continue high-ranking visits and all-level delegation exchanges, and work closely to celebrate the 40th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relationship in 2013. They also vowed to strengthen trade and investment exchange in the areas of logistics, seaport development, transport, green technology, space technology, heavy industry and healthcare.

The two sides also underlined that education and training cooperation are key elements of the bilateral relationship with priority placed on information technology, biological technology, geology and environment.

Notably on this occasion, Vietnamese Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh and Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister cum Minister of Economy Johan Vande Lanotte signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on construction of Dinh Vu port in Haiphong city, and another MoU under which Belgium would provide a non-refundable sum of 30 million euros ($39 million) for Vietnam.

This cash would be used for implementing projects on water management and environmental hygiene in central Ha Tinh, and south central Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan provinces. It would also be used for projects supporting Vietnam’s green growth strategy managed by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI).

Based on this MoU, relevant projects would be implemented by both governments from the end of 2013’s first quarter.

According to the MPI, green development has been a priority in the cooperation between the Vietnamese and Belgium governments in the 2011-2015 period. This also complements Vietnam’s green growth strategy and efforts to cope with climate change.

Belgium has granted loans and non-refundable aid worth nearly $300 million to Vietnam since 1977, with cooperation programmes focusing on clean water supply, hygiene and waste management, education, agricultural and rural development and health.
Belgium is Vietnam’s fifth largest export market in Europe.

In related news, in Brussels, Trong held talks with Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council and the European Commission’s President Jose Manuel Baroso.

Trong said Vietnam wanted to further develop a comprehensive, stable and long term partnership with the EU, and Vietnam prioritised cooperation with the EU in its external policy.

The EU vowed to increase financial assistance to Vietnam in the 2014-2020 period for the country’s course of industrialisation and modernisation. The EU also committed to solidify cooperation with Vietnam in education and training, culture, and swell cooperation in such potential areas as economic structure development, supporting industry, high technology and green development.

Nguyen Thanh | vir.com.vn

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