The European Union (EU) will increase non-refundable aid for Vietnam for the 2014-2020 period and will recognize Vietnam’s market economy status when the country meets required criteria, Ambassador-Head of the EU Delegation to Vietnam Dr. Franz Jessen has said.
The EU official was quoted by local media as saying so at a press conference in Hanoi on Thursday.
He also said that a series of events will be held throughout 2015 to mark 25 years of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and the EU.
These activities include concert performances with laser illumination to welcome Europe Day (May 9), film festivals, music festivals and related workshops and conferences.
The EU Delegation will also coordinate with the Sinh Vien Viet Nam (Vietnamese Students) newspaper to launch a writing contest on EU for young citizens across Vietnam, with the first prize of the contest to be a tour to Europe.
Also in 2015, a free trade agreement (FTA) is expected to be signed between Vietnam and the EU, one of Vietnam’s largest trading partners and investors.
The agreement is a comprehensive and ambitious one, marking a milestone in trade, economic and investment cooperation between Vietnam and the EU, Jessen said.
He said he was very glad to know that Vietnam has been able to export electronic items or commodities with high technological contents to Europe, instead of only traditional agricultural items as before.
He revealed that European enterprises are interested in the business environment in Vietnam, and said he hopes the Vietnamese Government will create a more favorable business environment to attract more investment from Europe.
In addition, the EU reiterates its commitment to supporting Vietnam in its economic transition in many aspects, he said.
Specifically, the EU will increase non-refundable aid from 300 million euros to 400 million euros for Vietnam for the 2014-2020 period, despite the context of tightened fiscal policies in Europe, he added.
Asked by reporters why the EU has yet to recognize Vietnam’s market economy status, Ambassador Jessen said the EU does not have any hesitation in recognizing Vietnam’s market economy status, but Vietnam must meet five technical criteria set out by the EU, news website Dan Tri reported.
Vietnam’s economy has recently experienced positive changes and the Vietnamese Government has tried its best to create such changes, but the meeting of the technical criteria requires a certain time and cannot be done overnight, the newswire quoted Jessen as saying.
The EU official said he hopes that when the Vietnam-EU FTA negotiation ends, Vietnam will gain achievements that prove its market economy status, Dan Tri quoted him as saying.