Austria-VN to deepen bilateral friendship for mutual benefits

October 26, 2023 - 07:19
Austrian ambassador Hans-Peter Glanzer wrote to Việt Nam News on the country's National Day

Austrian ambassador Hans-Peter Glanzer wrote to Việt Nam News on the country's National Day

On our National Day, October 26, we celebrate the regaining of Austria’s full independence and sovereignty in 1955. This is also a good occasion to take stock of the bilateral relationship between Việt Nam and Austria: last year, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries on December 1, 1972. Since then, our bilateral ties have seen excellent development be it in the political, economic, cultural, and academic fields.

The intensification of visits at a high political level reflects the high quality of the bilateral relationship. President Võ Văn Thưởng paid an official visit to Austria from July 23-25. In his meeting with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, the long-standing friendship between the two countries was confirmed and measures for further strengthening of the multi-faceted cooperation were identified.

Official Visit of Vietnamese President Võ Văn Thưởng in Vienna, Austria, July 24, 2023. Photo Carina Karlovits/HBF

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg visited Việt Nam in mid-April and in addition to the talks with Foreign Minister Bùi Thanh Sơn he also met Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính, Vice Chair of the National Assembly Trần Thanh Mẫn, as well as Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyễn Chí Dũng, and Minister of Industry and Trade, Nguyễn Hồng Diên. One important topic of the visit was the further strengthening of our economic relations. Foreign Minister Schellenberg was accompanied by a high-level business delegation.

Our economic relations have developed very well: trade volume between Việt Nam and Austria increased multifold and attained a new peak in 2022 with a total volume of 1.65 billion Euros and a strong surplus in favour of Việt Nam. Việt Nam is our biggest trading partner within ASEAN whereas Austria is among the ten most important export markets for Việt Nam in Europe. This positive trend has been further strengthened by Việt Nam’s Free Trade Agreement with the European Union.

Austrian companies operate around 60 subsidiaries in Việt Nam. There is definitely more room for investment from Austria in the field of energy transition and in the further development of public infrastructure. On the other hand, there are also ample opportunities for Vietnamese investors in Austria.

Austria has also provided soft loans in the amount of 350 million Euros for, among others things, hospital development, railway/communication infrastructure and civil protection.

Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg (left) and Foreign Minister Bùi Thanh Sơn in Hà Nội, Việt Nam., April 17, 2023. Photo BMEIA/Gruber

The quality of bilateral relations is not only defined by trade relations or high-level visits; they should be based on a broad and diverse spectrum of actors. Academic and cultural exchange form an important part of the relationship between two countries. There are close to 30 co-operation agreements between Vietnamese and Austrian universities.

Culture is a very effective way of building bridges for a better understanding. We celebrated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with a classical concert at the Hà Nội Opera House where the Việt Nam National Symphony Orchestra performed together with renowned musicians/singers from Austria, including the concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

With the establishment of the Việt Nam-Austria Friendship Association at the end of last year, another important component in the multifaceted network of our bilateral relationship was created.

The excellent bilateral relations provide a good basis for the co-operation between our two countries at the multilateral level be it in the framework of the United Nations or at the regional level like ASEAN. In view of multiple challenges and crisis at a global level, such a cooperative approach as well as a common engagement for a strong multilateral system is required now more than ever. This is in the interest of our two countries.

Concert "Musik aus Wien" in Hà Nội, November 26, 2022. Photo ÖB Hanoi

One of the core common challenges is the reduction of global warming and combating climate change. We are impressed by Việt Nam’s goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. We welcome Việt Nam joining the Just Energy Transition Partnership with the EU and the International Partners Group.

The foundation for our cooperation is mutual respect and a commitment to a rules-based international order which both our countries strongly support. Also, as export nations, Việt Nam and Austria are interested in free, safe and open trade routes.

Việt Nam and Austria can build on a solid foundation for further strengthening and deepening their bilateral relations for the mutual benefit of our two countries and their people. VNS