Michel and von der Leyen sent congratulations to Nguyễn Phú Trọng and Nguyễn Xuân Phúc

President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen have sent congratulations to Party General Secretary and State President Nguyễn Phú Trọng and Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc on the 30th fou…

Trung Nguyên coffee company is one among many to be benefitting from the newly ratified EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement. — VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam

HÀ NỘI — President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen have sent congratulations to Party General Secretary and State President Nguyễn Phú Trọng and Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc on the 30th founding anniversary of Việt Nam-EU diplomatic ties.

In their letters, the two EU leaders applauded Việt Nam’s swift and decisive actions to contain the spread of COVID-19, successfully curbing the outbreak and minimising deaths. They also offered condolences to the families of victims in floods in central Việt Nam in October.

They said that over the last 30 years, Việt Nam had witnessed many developments, from the implementation of the đổi mới (renewal) policy; the normalisation of relations with the EU, the US, and China; and its joining ASEAN to extensive structural reforms and the strategy for socio-economic development via global integration.

These factors had helped Việt Nam become one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, according to them.

Given the settlement of important global challenges requiring the participation of both Europe and Asia, the officials congratulated Việt Nam on its constructive role as Chair of ASEAN in 2020.

The EU pledges to intensify EU-ASEAN co-operation and welcomes the official establishment of the EU-ASEAN strategic partnership at the ministerial meeting on December 1.

Việt Nam was now an active member in the world, ready to assume growing international obligations, and share the EU’s strong commitment to multilateralism, they said, adding that the pandemic was a global crisis that needed international solidarity and co-operation.

In their letters, the Presidents of the European Council and Commission said over the last three decades, the EU-Việt Nam partnership had developed unceasingly, supported by agreements covering different domains, from politics, trade, and defence to anti-illegal logging.

By building a stronger partnership, the EU and Việt Nam could handle global challenges, and as a long-standing friend of Việt Nam, the EU would welcome the two sides discussing difficult issues in an open, straightforward and constructive manner, they affirmed.

The officials noted the EU-Việt Nam partnership was first and foremost for the sake of the Vietnamese and European people, and development co-operation would remain an important element in the EU’s commitment to Việt Nam.

They expressed the willingness to enhance ties with Việt Nam in dealing with major global challenges, contributing to peace and development in the world.

Michel and Leyen also hope to visit Việt Nam at an appropriate time.

Thriving relations

Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said in a message on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two sides that Việt Nam had experienced fruitful co-operation in various sectors in the past 30 years.

Việt Nam is among countries in ASEAN and the Asia-Pacific to have developed comprehensive relations with the EU. He described the signing of the EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) as an extraordinary step in bilateral ties.

The trade pact was the first comprehensive and ambitious trade and investment agreement the EU has concluded with a developing country in Asia, said Borrell, who is Vice President of the European Commission.

The EU is Việt Nam’s second-largest export market, accounting for 17 per cent of its total exports. Since Việt Nam’s exports to the EU make up just 2 per cent of the bloc’s total imports, there is huge space for the country to boost shipments. Two-way trade has shot up over recent years, with Vietnamese exports primarily being furniture, telephones, machinery, and footwear, while the EU’s exports are mainly aircraft, machinery, pharmaceuticals, and electrical equipment.

The EVFTA came into force at a time with the global economy battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, and has created motivation for trade in goods between the two and boosted the confidence of EU and other investors seeking to develop Việt Nam-EU trade links.

Despite the pandemic, the implementation of the deal has already shown robust signs, with Việt Nam’s exports to the EU in August and September topping US$3.25 billion and $3.1 billion, respectively, year-on-year increases of 4 per cent and 9.5 per cent.

The EVFTA is expected to bring more practical benefits to businesses and people of both sides in the medium and long terms. It is projected to help Việt Nam increase its GDP by 4.6 per cent and exports to the EU by 42.7 per cent by 2025. Meanwhile, the EU’s GDP will rise by an additional $29.5 billion and shipments will increase by 29 per cent by 2035.

Borrell also hailed Việt Nam as an attractive partner of the EU, saying the forums the country had engaged in are vivid illustrations of its strong commitment to multilateralism and a rules-based international order.

At the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on September 12, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh affirmed that in its role as ASEAN Chair 2020, Việt Nam supported efforts to deepen ASEAN-EU relations towards upgrading ties to a strategic partnership, and eventually, Việt Nam’s efforts paid off, with ASEAN and the EU announcing the official upgrade of ties to the strategic partnership level on December 1.

The EVFTA could be used as a model if the EU was to decide to sign free trade deals with ASEAN or other member states.

Regarding peace and security, Việt Nam and the EU have signed a Framework Participation Agreement (FPA), paving the way for Việt Nam to join the crisis management activities of the EU. The first of its kind the EU has inked with an ASEAN country, the agreement will help contribute to the EU’s activities in global peace and security.— VNS

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