The signing of a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) marks an important qualitative development in the Vietnam-EU relationship, Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said in an interview granted to the press in Brussels on June 28.
Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton sign the PCA in Brussels on June 27, 2012. (Photo: VNA)
The Vietnamese Foreign Minister and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton signed the PCA between Vietnam and the EU at the EU headquarters in Brussels on June 27.
With the agreement, the relations between EU and VN will shift from EU’s provision of assistance to Vietnam in development, poverty reduction and economic transformation, to an equal partnership and more comprehensive and profound cooperation, Minh said.
“In other words, the PCA is not only vivid evidence of the comprehensive and substantive development of the Vietnam-EU relationship over the past 20 years, but also an important milestone that brings the bilateral ties to a new height, in line with the connectivity and stature of the EU in the 21 st century, as well as the increasing position and strength of Vietnam after 25 years of successful renovation and integration,” he said.
According to the FM, the agreement will regulate the bilateral relations between Vietnam and the EU in the areas of development cooperation, economics-trade, education-training, science-technology, agriculture, health and tourism.
It will also cover cooperation at regional and international forums and cooperation in dealing with global challenges such as climate change, environment, natural disasters, energy security, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and the fight against terrorism and organised crimes, he added.
Regarding the prospects for the Vietnam-EU relationship after signing the PCA, Minh stated that the Vietnam-EU relations have seen positive and comprehensive development over recent years.
The EU has become one of Vietnam ’s most important partners in various fields, especially development cooperation, trade and investment, thus actively supporting the Southeast Asian nation’s overall development and international integration, he said.
Vietnam ’s relations with EU member countries have developed rapidly and positively. Vietnam and five EU members namely the UK , Germany , Spain , the Netherlands and Denmark have established strategic partnerships.
The minister stressed that the PCA and the official kick-start of negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) are new important milestones in the development of the Vietnam-EU ties, both bilaterally and multilaterally.
In future, on the basis of the PCA, Vietnam will deepen and upgrade its relations with EU member states to a new level, he said, adding that the two sides will actively maintain dialogue on issues relating to democracy and human rights in the spirit of openness, cooperation and mutual respect.
According to the diplomat, while waiting for the approval of the PCA by parliaments of 27 EU member countries and the European Parliament (EP), Vietnam and the EU have agreed to implement some contents of the PCA soon, including strengthening the Vietnam-EU cooperation at international and regional forums, as well as speeding up FTA negotiations and working for the EU’s recognition of Vietnam as a market economy.
The two sides will boost cooperation in education and training, environment and climate change, energy and natural disaster prevention and mitigation, he said.
They will also increase high-ranking visits, including an official visit to Vietnam by President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy scheduled for later this year, he added.
Minister Minh expressed his belief that with the signing of the PCA, the Vietnam-EU relations will continue to see strong developments in the future.-