Political & economic relations
In its relations towards Vietnam, the European Union aims at:
- supporting the sustainable economic development of Vietnam and the improvement of living conditions of the poor;
- encouraging the integration of Vietnam in the world economy and trading system, and supporting the process of economic and social reforms;
- supporting Vietnam's transition to an open society based on sound governance, the rule of law and respect for human rights;
- raising the profile of the European Union in Vietnam.
In this context, the European Union and its Delegation to Vietnam play a pivotal part in shaping the EU and global agenda.
Overall framework of EU-Vietnam relations
2013 marks the 23rd anniversary of diplomatic relations between the European Union (EU) and Vietnam. Diplomatic ties were established in October 1990. The Delegation of the European Union to Vietnam was officially opened in 1996.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in October 1990, Vietnam-EU relations have developed very rapidly, moving from an initial focus on trade and aid to a broader, more diversified and more political partnership. The new EU-Vietnam Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), which has been concluded in October 2010 and was officially signed on 27 June 2012 replaces a Cooperation Agreement (Framework Cooperation Agreement [698 KB] ) dating back from 1995.
The new PCA demonstrates the commitment of the EU to forge a modern, broad-based and mutually-beneficial partnership with Vietnam. It will broaden further the scope of EU-Vietnam cooperation in areas such as trade, the environment, energy, science and technology, good governance, as well as tourism, culture, migration, and the fight against corruption and organised crime.
The PCA will also allow Vietnam and the EU, which share the same interest in a strong multilateral rule-based system and strong institutions of global governance, to further enhance cooperation on global and regional challenges, including climate change, counter- terrorism and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, all issues on which Vietnam is willing to play an increasingly active role.
The PCA brings on board the EU and all its Member States, therefore providing opportunities to increase coherence and synergies between EU policies and between EU and individual Member States’ policies. The Government of Vietnam and the EU have already identified some priorities for immediate action under the PCA.
Under the new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, a Joint Committee, composed of representatives of both sides, is established for high – level discussions on political and economic developments in the EU and Vietnam, including the continued progress of Vietnam's economic, administrative, legal and judicial reforms and the implementation of the EU cooperation programmes. The Joint Committee meets annually and the Joint Committee's meetings are prepared by three subordinate working-level bodies currently dealing with specific areas: a Working-Group on Trade and Investment meets back-to-back to the main Joint Committee biannually. The EC-Vietnam Sub-Group on “Cooperation in the areas of institution building and administrative reform, governance and human rights” was established in 2005 and meets every year. Development and Cooperation matters are discussed at the Co-operation Working Group every year. In addition, in June 2009 it was decided to establish an EC-Vietnam Subgroup on Science and Technology Cooperation.
The EU is also looking forward to the trade and investment principles established in the PCA being completed by a Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which will also bring two-way trade and investment to new levels. On 26 June, the EU and Vietnam officially launched negotiations for a Vietnam – EU Free Trade Agreement. The first round of negotiations took place in October 2012.