|Set in stone: The Elbe Sandstone mountains include places of interest like the Bastei cliffs near Rathen, the Kunigstein Fortress and many more. The region has been a popular destination for tourists for more than 200 years. — Photo kiribane.org
(VNS) On the occasion of Germa-ny's national day it is my pleasure to look at the strong relationship between our two countries. Despite the geographic distance between Viet Nam and Germany, we have always been connected by the bridge the many Vietnamese who are firmly rooted in both countries have built over decades.
On September 22, a new parliament was elected in Germany. Thirty-four political parties contested for seats in the Bundestag. Four of them were successful and will soon form the next Bundestag in Berlin. As Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany I can assure you that the relations between Germany and Viet Nam will continue to be important for the new German government, regardless of the political coalition that will finally be formed.
Germany is looking forward to working further with Viet Nam on the international stage: Viet Nam is currently campaigning for a seat in the UN Human Rights Council for the period from 2014 to 2016, to which Germany is a member. We see Viet Nam's application for a seat in the Council as a clear commitment to Human Rights worldwide as well as domestically.
Successful economic exchange is the key to the creation of value for both our economies, and ultimately, the Vietnamese and German people: during the last year, bilateral trade reached a new record level of more than US$9 billion, with Viet Nam increasing the value of its exports to Germany by 27 per cent. German FDI to Viet Nam surpassed $1 billion, and the more than 160 German companies are here to stay and create value for the Vietnamese economy.
This summer, the German government reaffirmed its support to Viet Nam's "Green Growth Strategy", aiming at creating socially sustainable and environmentally friendly growth for Viet Nam. Additionally, the German government supports infrastructure projects like the metro line 2 in HCM City, and in the area of wastewater treatment. A German company designed the new building of the Vietnamese National Assembly in Ha Noi.
Our co-operation also continued to grow in a field which is the key to the successful economic and social performance of any country: education and training.
The German government decided to further support Viet Nam in the field of practical vocational training to improve its competitiveness within ASEAN.
An initiative of the German businesses in Viet Nam together with the Vietnamese government paved the way to include private enterprises in the training of Vietnamese workers. In higher education, we can be proud of the Vietnamese-German University.
The VGU links German excellence in research with teaching of currently 750 students. Soon, work will begin on a new campus to accommodate even more students, top researchers and laboratories.
I am proud to announce that the Vietnamese government has identified the German language as a key asset for the future of Viet Nam: German has become an official language to be taught in the Vietnamese educational system. In July, we signed a new agreement with the Ministry of Education and Training for the implementation of German language teaching in Viet Nam. German classes will help many young, bright and committed students in Viet Nam on their way into the prospering German economy.
After my first year in Viet Nam, I am encouraged by the progress we have made in strengthening our relations which continue to flourish in the interest of both our peoples.
I am especially satisfied that we will soon begin with the construction of the ‘German House' in HCM City, uniting under one roof the German Consulate general, German businesses as well as our economic and cultural institutions. Thus, the ‘German House' will be more than a building – it is an important cornerstone for our bilateral relations and underlines our co-operation and friendship. — VNS