|Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh meets with Vice President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis in Brussels. — Photo VGP
BRUSSELS (VNS) — Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh has asked the Vice President of the European Commission (EC) Valdis Dombrovskis to help accelerate the signing of the EU-Viet Nam free- trade agreement (EVFTA).
During a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, yesterday, with Dombrovskis, Ninh also expressed hope that the EU would share more experiences in sustainable development with Viet Nam.
He also pledged to implement multilateral treaties on the environment and basic conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), of which Viet Nam is a member.
Speaking of the EU's role with ASEAN, the Deputy PM said Viet Nam appreciated its contributions to the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) co-operation mechanism.
He sought the EU's support for mutual initiatives as well as its greater contribution to ASEM's efforts to respond to global challenges such as climate change, reducing disaster risks, overcoming water shortages, food and energy security, and sustainable development.
East Sea issue
Mentioning the East Sea issue, Ninh said China's large and illegal constructions on reef islands in the Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago had seriously threatened peace, stability, and aviation and maritime security in the East Sea. He said the waters were an important maritime route connecting Europe and Asia.
He reiterated Viet Nam's policy of solving disputes by peaceful means in accordance with international law, especially the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982, while avoiding actions that complicated the situation, not using or threatening to use force, fully implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and working towards the early formation of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea.
Dombrovskis said he hoped the EVFTA would be signed this year and a Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Co-operation between the two sides in 2016.
Mentioning the EU's recognition of Viet Nam's market economy status, he said the two sides were working on necessary technical factors toward early recognition.
Dombrovskis said the EU was exerting efforts to assist the Lower Mekong region, adding that the EU had provided two billion euros to narrow the development gaps between Lower Mekong countries and developed nations in the region.
He said the EU also hoped to join the East Asia Summit (EAS).
The EC Vice President shared concerns with Viet Nam over recent construction on reef islands in the East Sea, saying that the EU backed the settlement of the issue by peaceful ways, adding that maritime security was critical for both Asian and European nations. — VNS