European Council president arrives
HA NOI (VNS) — President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy today starts his four-day working visit to Viet Nam aiming to bolster bilateral ties between the Southeast Asian country and the 27-nation bloc.
|European Council President Herman Van Rompuy
Rompuy's trip is being made at the invitation of State President Truong Tan Sang. This is the first time a President of the European Council has paid a visit to Viet Nam.
Bilateral ties between Viet Nam and the EU have developed remarkably since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1990. One of the latest milestones is the signing of the Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA) after nine rounds of negotiations.
The PCA will act as an important institutional framework to deepen co-operation between the two sides.
When it comes to the EU-Viet Nam partnership, trade is among the most important pillars, with two-way trade increasing by 15-20 percent on average each year, from US$4.1 billion in 2000 to $24.29 billion in 2011. The EU is one of Viet Nam's largest trade partners and its second biggest export market.
A new level of trade partnership between Viet Nam and the EU has been marked by the commitment to start negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement. The first round of negotiations was conducted in Ha Noi earlier this month, and more are expected to continue over the next two years.
Rompuy's visit is an opportunity for Viet Nam to affirm its wish to develop a comprehensive and long-lasting relationship with the EU, and to ask the block to recognise the country's market economy status and maintain its Official Development Assistance.
Today, Rompuy and President Sang are expected to witness the signing of a European Investment Bank loan on climate change and a EU-Viet Nam multilateral trade project worth 15 million euros (US$19.45 million).
Before chosen to be president of the European Council in 2009, Rompuy was Prime Minister of Belgium. He studied philosophy and applied economics. — VNS