Chairman of the Vietnamese National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue (L) and President of the European Parliament David Sassoli pose for a photo ahead of their meeting on September 8.
Welcoming the Vietnamese leader, Sassoli highly valued the country’s role in the region, stressing the EP and Vietnam share common interests in multiple areas and that the EP wants to enhance all-round cooperation with the country in such fields as trade and investment, COVID-19 prevention and control, and response to climate change, including challenges to water resources, saltwater intrusion, and drought.
Hue affirmed that the European Union (EU) is a partner of leading importance in Vietnam’s foreign and international integration policies.
The two sides have maintained high-level meetings; signed and effectively implemented many important cooperation agreements such as the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), and the Framework Participation Agreement (FPA); and maintained regular cooperation and dialogue cooperation mechanisms, thereby helping to lift the Vietnam - EU comprehensive partnership and cooperation, including the ties between the Vietnamese NA and the EP, to a new height, according to the Chairman.
At the talks, the two leaders discussed issues to further intensify the two parliaments’ ties so as to help develop Vietnam - EU relations more strongly for the sake of both sides.
To promote economic and trade links comprehensively, Hue expressed his hope that the EP will help promote its member parliaments’ ratification of the EU - Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) to step up investment cooperation while continuing to facilitate the implementation of the EVFTA.
Regarding collaboration in the COVID-19 combat, he thanked the EP, relevant agencies of the EU, and parliamentarians’ groups in the EP for supporting and assisting Vietnam in the fight. He also echoed the EP’s viewpoint that only solidarity, sharing, and confidence of victory can help people address the pandemic’s consequences and return to a “new normal” life.
Particularly, Hue said, as the pandemic is developing more complicatedly, it requires stronger inter-regional (between ASEAN and the EU) and global cooperation to continue maintaining achievements in socio-economic development.
The talks between the leaders of the Vietnamese NA and the EP in Brussels on September 8.
He also voiced his hope that the EP will accelerate vaccine supply from Europe via the COVAX Facility and sharing of redundant vaccines, along with medical supplies and COVID-19 drugs, and cooperate with the country in vaccine production.
Vietnam is ready to make all-round preparations to become a regional vaccine production centre, the top Vietnamese legislator emphasised.
He also took this occasion to ask the EP to support the removal of the “yellow card” warning on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing against Vietnam’s fishery sector to help guarantee livelihoods for Vietnamese fishermen. He stated that the country has been exerting every effort to deal with the problem and gained positive outcomes.
With regard to bilateral parliamentary cooperation, the NA Chairman held that the achievements obtained so far should be promoted, and both sides should increase contacts at all levels.
Given this, he invited the EP President to visit Vietnam to discuss issues of common concern, including the establishment of practical and effective cooperation frameworks between the two parliaments.
For his part, Sassoli said the EVFTA is an exemplary cooperation model, adding that the EP has ratified the EVIPA and is promoting the remaining member parliaments’ ratification.
The EP sympathises with Vietnam’s current difficulties and will strive to seek vaccine and medical supplies for the country’s fight against COVID-19 as soon as possible, he noted.
The two leaders shared the view that relations between the Vietnamese NA and the EP are flourishing in both bilateral and multilateral channels, agreeing to increase the exchange of all-level delegations and share information and experience in parliamentary activities.
During the talks, the two sides exchanged views on issues related to international peace, security, and cooperation and underlined the role of international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in settling disputes and maintaining security, safety, and freedom of navigation and overflight.
They also agreed to closely coordinate and make active contributions to regional and international forums.
Following the talks, Hue received heads of the EP’s Committee on International Trade (INTA), the delegation for relations with the countries of Southeast Asia and ASEAN (DASE), the EP’s parliamentary friendship group. They looked into measures to reinforce ties in areas of common interest, including trade and EVFTA implementation.
Vietnamese NA Chairman meets with European Council President
Chairman of the Vietnamese National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue (left) and President of the European Council Charles Michel (Photo: VNA)
Chairman of the Vietnamese National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue and President of the European Council Charles Michel on September 8 agreed to further enhance cooperation between the two sides, emphasising the significant role of the Vietnamese legislature and the European Parliament (EP).
During their meeting in Brussels, Michel welcomed the working visit to the European Council and the EP by the Vietnamese delegation to discuss issues of shared concern across spheres, especially mutual support in the COVID-19 fight and post-pandemic recovery, and ASEAN-EU cooperation.
Pointing out the pandemic’s impacts on the progress and efficiency of the implementation of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), he suggested the two sides work harder to optimise the deal’s potential.
Michel also shared his views on peace and security in Indo-Pacific and the rules-based order, and affirmed that the EU wants to expand and deepen cooperation with Southeast Asia, including Vietnam.
For his part, Hue said this is his first visit to Europe in his capacity as NA Chairman and on behalf of Vietnam’s high-ranking leaders in the new tenure, which demonstrates the importance Vietnam attaches to the EU and the EP.
The EU is a leading partner of Vietnam in terms of trade and investment, he said, noting that after more than one year of implementing the EVFTA, bilateral trade expanded 18 percent despite a range of difficulties caused by COVID-19.
The Vietnamese legislature has played an important role in the preparation, signing, ratification and implementation of the trade deal, and approved the revised Labour Code as well as the roadmap on joining fundamental conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Hue said.
He suggested the European Council continue to support businesses of the two sides and urge parliaments of EU countries to soon ratify the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA).
Hue called on the EU to assist and share its experience with Vietnam in such areas as sustainable development, digital economy, green economy, and high-quality personnel development.
Regarding the pandemic fight, Hue thanked the EU for its donation of 2.4 million doses of vaccines, saying he hoped that the European Council and the European Commission will prioritise Vietnam in accessing Europe’s vaccine sources via the COVAX Facility or sharing redundant vaccines, and provide the Southeast Asian nation with medical supplies and COVID-19 treatment drugs.
The top legislator said with its capacity and efforts to ensure vaccines for domestic demand and the region, Vietnam would like to receive the European Council’s support for cooperation in vaccine production in the country.
Vietnam has made efforts to deal with illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, he said, calling for the European Council’s support so that the European Commission will soon remove the “yellow card” against the country.
Vietnam also stands ready to cooperate with the EU in issues relating to human rights in the spirit of candidness, openness, mutual respect and understanding, he affirmed.
Hue also said Vietnam will continue to closely coordinate with the EU and the EP in multilateral cooperation mechanisms, and is willing to work as a bridge between the EU and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The EU side pledged to further assist Vietnam in the pandemic combat, including the access to COVID-19 vaccines and drugs, and medical supplies.
The two sides also discussed measures to lift the “yellow card” warning against Vietnam’s seafood products, and narrow differences in human rights-related matters.
For regional and international issues, they shared the view that in the face of COVID-19 and climate change, it is necessary to restructure the global economy and join efforts and actions to respond to climate change.
They voiced their support for an ASEAN region of stability, peace and prosperity, and maintaining security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation on the basis of respect for international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
NA Chairman receives leaders of economic groups in Belgium
National Assembly (NA) Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue hosted separate receptions for representatives of several economic groups in Belgium on September 8 as part of his working trip to the European Parliament and Belgium.
At a meeting with Senior Director, International Government Relations at ExxonMobil (the US) Peter Lavoy, Hue appreciated the corporation’s efforts to implement and complete the signing of the agreement in principles on guarantee and commitments of the Government.
He said that Ca Voi Xanh (Blue Whale) project with a total investment of 20 billion USD to produce offshore natural gas in central Vietnam is an important condition for Vietnam to build and operate gas-fired power plants in the central region, suggesting ExxonMobil and the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) continue to work closely to maintain the schedule and bring the first gas flow ashore by 2024.
Vietnam's policy is to increase wind power, gradually reduce coal-fueled power, and increase liquefied petroleum gas, Hue said, asking the corporation to resume construction of refining and petrochemical projects in Vietnam, which are being delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The top legislator also asked Lavoy to urge the US government to donate more COVID-19 vaccines or transfer redundant vaccines to help Vietnam step up the fight against the pandemic, including in industrial parks, to ensure that supply chains are not disrupted.
Receiving Fabien De Jonge, member of the Board of Directors of Infra Asia Investment (IAI) which has invested 1.2 billion USD in industrial zones in Hai Phong city and Quang Ninh province, the Vietnamese leader hailed the company’s intention to expand investment in Vietnam in the fields of renewable energy, wind and solar power.
During his meeting with Eddy Bruyninckx, a representative of International Port Engineering & Investments Limited (IPEI), Hue affirmed that Vietnam is paying special attention to developing the logistics industry. He spoke highly of the company’s activities in Vietnam, particularly investment projects in industrial zones in Hai Phong and Quang Ninh.
He suggested the company and other partners continue to study and share experience in the construction of industrial parks with international standards, in order to attract more ODA capital.
Vietnam is committed to accompanying and creating favourable conditions for investors to invest and do business in the country, the NA Chairman added.
At the meetings, foreign investors appreciated Vietnam's efforts in socio-economic development and COVID-19 prevention and control. They also acknowledged the Vietnamese legislature’s renovations in accompanying the Government, thus creating favourable conditions in terms of policies and laws for investors to invest and do business in Vietnam./.