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Brussels, 28 March 2012

EU development cooperation with Vietnam

The EU has been supporting poverty reduction in Vietnam and the country's integration into the world economy since the 1990s. Development cooperation between Vietnam and the EU began with support for the return of Vietnamese asylum seekers. Since then, the European Commission has provided more than €600 million in grants for specific projects and programmes, mainly in the area of education and health, rural development, governance and economic cooperation.

Moreover, today, Vietnam is the European Investment Bank's leading per capita beneficiary in Asia. More than €500 million in concessional loans have been agreed in the last 10 years.

EU development cooperation with Vietnam currently focuses on support to Vietnam’s programmes to address poverty and support the health sector. In addition, the EU provides trade-related assistance and support to the justice sector and civil society. For the period 2007-2013, bilateral European Commission assistance to Vietnam amounts to €304 million.



The maternal mortality ratio in Vietnam is estimated to be 68 per 100,000 live births. The under-five mortality rate stands at 25 per 1,000 live births and the infant mortality rate is less than 16 per 1,000 live births. Malnutrition rate of children under-five is 18%. All this suggests that Vietnam is performing quite well, but the country still faces significant disparities in most of the key health indicators between the poor Northwest and Central Highlands regions, and the rest of the country.

EU intervention

Bilateral European Commission support in the health sector in Vietnam includes 2 projects, HEMA1 and SCSP2, totaling €32.75 million, and one recently started sector budget support program, of €39.25 million. In addition, under the Global Fund for Tuberculosis, AIDS and Malaria, of which the EU is the largest donor, nine projects are implemented in Vietnam, with a total budget of €95 million.

HEMA (Health Care Support to the Poor of the Northern Uplands and Central Highlands Project) (2006-2012)

is a health financing project that supports the establishment of the Vietnamese government's Health Care Fund for the Poor. It targets the poorest communities and ethnic minorities in remote areas of five provinces in the Northwest and Central highlands regions. The project provides technical support to improve the quality of essential health packages for the poor and financial support for the poor to buy those packages.


So far the HEMA project has reached 3,026 of the poorest villages in 253 localities, 33 districts of five poorest provinces of Vietnam, with health care packages being provided to 1,122,078 poor people.

On-going Commission-funded projects of the Global Fund for Tuberculosis, AIDS and Malaria

Currently, thanks to two HIV/AIDS projects, 19,000 people are under anti-retroviral therapy. Under two tuberculosis projects 4,900 new cases are detected and treated with a treatment success rate of 92%. Meanwhile, a Malaria project, has distributed about 3,700,000 mosquito nets.



From 1975 to 2010, Vietnam experienced major boosts of the working age population (15+), which increased by 136.9 percent (from 26.1 to 61.8 million). The employment population rate was 75.2 percent in 2010. For the next decade, an average of 730,000 new people are expected to appear on the labour market each year.

EU intervention

The Labour Market Project is a €11.7m project (EU contribution €10m) which was implemented between 2003 and 2011 together with the International Labour Organisation and the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs of Vietnam. It supported the development of human resources in Vietnam, mainly: (i) developing a labour market information system, to collect, analyse and disseminate statistics and to ensure that demand and supply on the labour meet; and (ii) improving the quality of vocational teachers' training to satisfy the demands for skilled labour.


A labour market information system was established, for collection, analysis and dissemination of statistics and to equip the “Employment Service Centres” in provinces with data to help them in making labour demand and supply meet.

An employment portal, supported by the project, provided links to employment service centres and job bazaars in 63 provinces. This has had an impact on the ability of jobseekers to find employment through these centres. To date, more than 600,000 vacancies have been published through the employment portal.

The employment service centres in Vietnam now provide 400,000 new vacancies every year, approximately 300,000 of which result in successful recruitment.

Trade-Related Assistance


Trade expansion has been one of the main drivers of Vietnam’s economic growth. Over the past years, exports grew over 20% every year (33% in 2011) and today represent approximately three quarters of GDP. However, Vietnam still has a large trade deficit and trade regulations and their enforcement have not kept pace with the country's rapid economic integration.

EU intervention

The EU has supported Vietnam with the Multilateral Trade-Related Assistance Project (MUTRAP). Its ongoing third phase (MUTRAP III), will end in 2012 and will be followed a by new funding instrument. The total value of European Commission support including the follow-up project is over €50 million.

The current third phase of MUTRAP helps Vietnam to implement WTO commitments, conduct multilateral, regional and bilateral trade negotiations, and ensure fair competition in the domestic markets and consumer protection. The project also supports business associations and universities, for instance by strengthening universities’ curricula on international trade law.


MUTRAP III has organised 227 workshops on trade-related issues and legislation since 2019, for more than 23,000 participants. A foreign market information portal has been set up and seven workshops have been organised to train business people to use it. In 2011, trade offices and other organisations posted 3,579 articles and documents on the portal (11 articles per day, on average).

In 2010/2011 the portal had a total of 461,000 visitors. A Vietnam export portal was set up in 2009. In 2010/2011 it had a total of 86,000 visitors.



The number of foreign tourists visiting the country grew from 92,500 in 1988 to more than 6 million in 2011. The tourism industry currently accounts for nearly 5% of the country’s GDP and employs approximately 10% of the labour force in service sectors.

The main challenges concern a need to better regulate investment in infrastructure and to ensurethe quantity and quality of human resources to serve the tourism sector. New emerging challenges include environmental erosion, negative impact at community level, regional competition as well as visa and migration policy.

EU Intervention

The Human Resources Development in Tourism Project (2005-2010, EU contribution €10.8 million) assisted the Vietnamese government in developing a sustainable pool of skilled human resources for the tourism industry.

The project supported, among other things, the development of tourism-related curricula, and the establishment of a certification body to ensure training quality and human resources.

Last year the EU funded two new projects in the tourism sector, the Environmentally and Socially Responsible Tourism Capacity Development Programme and the “High Impact Tourism Training for Jobs & Income”, bringing the total EU contribution in this sector to more than € 22m.


A national system has been created which recognises professional skills in tourism. More than 200 teachers were trained to improve teaching and language skills.

A skills recognition system has been established with a pool of more than 3,000 trained and certified trainers in the industry and in hospitality schools.

Equipment has been provided to hotels and tourism schools and 12 assessment centres were established and are fully operational.

For more information

IP/12/318 – Commissioner Piebalgs in Vietnam to meet President and discuss future cooperation

1 :

Health Care Support to the Poor of the Northern Uplands and Central Highlands Project

2 :

Health Sector Capacity Support Project

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