European Commission (EC) President José Manuel Durão Barroso will pay a two-day visit to Vietnam starting August 25 to strengthen multifaceted cooperation between the European Union (EU) and the Southeast Asian country.
The visit is taking place at the invitation of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, said Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Le Hai Binh at a press conference in Hanoi on August 21.
During trip, the EC President will meet with Prime Minister Dung and other senior Vietnamese leaders to discuss measures to promote bilateral relations, especially in economics and trade.
The two sides will also exchange information and opinions on regional and international issues of mutual concern.
During his stay in Hanoi, President Barroso will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate at the National Economics University.
He will also visit Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s business and economic hub, where he is expected to meet with representatives of the EU business community and pay a courtesy call on Ho Chi Minh city’s People’s Committee Chairman Le Hoang Quan.
Previously, at a reception for visiting European Commission Vice President Catherine Ashton in Hanoi on August 12, Prime Minister Dung proposed that the EU soon ratify the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with Vietnam, and conclude bilateral negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA).
The PM expressed hope that the EU will soon recognize its market economy status and continue providing official development assistance (ODA) for Vietnam.
For her part, Ashton, who is also foreign policy chief of the EU, announced the EU’s decision to increase ODA to Vietnam by 30 percent for 2014-2020 over the amount for the 2007-2013 period.
She told PM Dung that the EU is striving to ratify the PCA and conclude FTA negotiations with Vietnam at the soonest possible time.
She also suggested that the two sides cooperate closely to ensure Vietnam meets the EU’s criteria to be recognized as a market economy.