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European Commission - Press release

Commissioner Piebalgs in Vietnam to meet President and discuss future cooperation

Brussels, 28 March 2012 - Today, European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, arrived in Hanoi for a two-day visit to Vietnam, during which he will discuss future EU relations with the country, which has made impressive progress in fighting poverty and promoting sustainable growth. The Commissioner will meet President Truong Tang Sang, as well as the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Hoang Trung Hai; the Minister of Planning and Investment, Mr. Bui Quang Vinh; and the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Mr. Nguyen Minh Quang.

Upon his arrival, Commissioner Piebalgs said: "In many ways, Vietnam can be seen as a development "success story". Once one of the world's poorest countries, Vietnam has moved up the development ladder. The country has succeeded on lifting millions of citizens out of poverty through successful reforms, and the Millennium Development Goals are expected to be reached by 2015. However, the development battle is not over yet. I'll discuss EU future cooperation with the President and the authorities of the country. It will involve building on this good performance, while addressing remaining disparities so that the fruits of development are enjoyed by all. We encourage Vietnam to continue reforms that reduce poverty, further inclusive growth and promote human rights, good governance and the rule of law."

During his visit, the Commissioner will discuss, in particular, bilateral development cooperation and the future of EU development policy. The exchanges with Vietnamese leaders will also cover trade as a means to create inclusive growth and employment, as well as to overcome economic challenges such as resilient poverty. Additional topics of discussion will be human rights and the rule of law as a driving force for development and a crucial factor for long-term growth prospects and stability.

The visit reflects the EU's commitment to take forward all aspects of EU-Vietnam relations on the basis of a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), which is expected to be signed formally in the course of this year.

Vietnam and the Millennium Development Goals

The EU and its Member States have consistently supported Vietnam in its development and are currently its largest grant donor (€754 million committed for 2012). Vietnam has achieved the majority of Millennium Development Goals and is on course to meet all of them by 2015.

Overall, the country has successfully reduced poverty, achieved near universal primary education, reduced child mortality and improved maternal health, gender quality and women's empowerment. However, with respect to reduced poverty, regional differences persist that need to be addressed in the future. Poverty also remains a problem among vulnerable groups such as ethnic minorities and the urban poor.

The EU-Vietnam Partnership and Cooperation Agreement

In 2010, the EU and Vietnam concluded a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) that will help to forge broader-based and more diversified relations. The PCA will, in particular, allow both sides to intensify cooperation in the areas of human rights and the rule of law, science and technology, energy and the environment. It will also make it possible to work together on challenges of global concern such as climate change and non-proliferation. The Agreement is expected to be signed in the first half of 2012.

Schedule of Commissioner Piebalgs

Wednesday, 28 March

  • Meeting with Minister for Planning and Investment, Mr Bui Quang Vinh

  • Meeting with Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Hoang Trung Hai

Thursday, 29 March

  • Speech to students at the Hanoi National University

  • Meeting with President, Mr. Truong Tang Sang

  • Meeting with Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Mr. Nguyen Minh Quang

  • In the afternoon: press conference

For more information

MEMO/12/222

Website of the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/piebalgs/index_en.htm

Website of EuropeAid Development and Cooperation DG:

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/index_en.htm

Contacts :

Catherine Ray (+32 2 296 99 21)

Wojtek Talko (+32 2 297 85 51)


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