|Executive Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans (Photo: baotainguyenmoitruong.vn)
Vietnam and the EU signed a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement in June of 2012 and have been working for 10 years to develop the relationship.
Despite the pandemic Vietnam and the EU have maintained contacts and exchanged delegations at all levels. President Nguyen Xuan Phuc met European Council President Charles Michel on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last September. Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh had a bilateral meeting with European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) last November. National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue paid an official visit to the EU last September.
The EU is currently Vietnam’s largest non-refundable aid donor, third largest export market, fifth largest import market, and sixth largest investor. In 2021, bilateral trade turnover reached more than 63 billion USD, 15% higher than 2020. By the end of last year, 25 out of 27 EU countries had invested nearly over 22 billion USD in 2,300 projects in Vietnam. Between 2014 and 2020, the EU provided more than 450 million USD of non-refundable aid to Vietnam and pledged to finance nearly 240 million USD until 2024. The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) was a new milestone in the bilateral relationship. Since the deal took effect in August 2020, it has moved Vietnam from being the EU’s 17th largest trade partner to the 15th largest, making Vietnam the EU's largest trade partner in ASEAN.
Vietnam and the EU have strengthened cooperation in science, technology, health, justice, education, energy, and climate change and natural disaster response. The EU has been supporting policies on energy development and access to sustainable energy for rural, mountainous, and island areas, circular economy solutions for marine plastic waste, and sustainable energy transformation. The EU is a big provider of COVID-19 vaccines to Vietnam. EU members have pledged or donated 40 million vaccine doses through COVAX, TEAM EUROPE, and other mechanisms, as well as additional medical supplies.
Comprehensive partnership and cooperation
During his current visit to Vietnam, EC Executive Vice President Timmermans has a packed schedule: a courtesy meeting with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, a talk with Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh, and multiple meetings with leaders of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission and a number of ministries.
Ahead of the visit, the two sides expressed their appreciation of and desire to deepen their relationship, particularly in climate change response and sustainable development, and strengthen their cooperation in multilateral forums. Vietnam wants the EU to promptly ratify the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA), and remove the illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing yellow card warning imposed on Vietnamese seafood in order to create more favorable conditions for bilateral economic cooperation.