The delegation of European Union (EU) in Vietnam launched the “EU Blue Book 2012,” the annual publication on EU development in Vietnam, on May 31.

Head of the EU delegation to Vietnam, Ambassador Franz Jessen said EU is still one of the leading foreign development assistance providers for Vietnam, with committed aid totalling 745.3 million EUR (1 billion USD) in 2012, representing 13.24 percent of the total committed foreign assistance for Vietnam. Of the amount, non-refundable aid accounts for 32.5 percent, or 245.21 million EUR.

According to the Ambassador, the Vietnam-EU relations have been expanded beyond development cooperation programmes.

He described the upcoming signing of the Vietnam-EU Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) this year as a manifestation of the wide and unceasingly developing cooperation between EU and Vietnam.

The two sides have also finished the preparation for the start of negotiation on their bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA), he said.

EU has become Vietnam’s second biggest trade partner after the Southeast Asian country boosted its exports to EU by 33.5 percent in 2011, the Ambassador added.

In the context of economic crisis in Europe in particular and in the world in general, EU’s remarkable committed assistance to Vietnam reflected the importance of the Vietnam-EU relations, he said.

EU hopes its non-refundable aid and loans to Vietnam will stimulus policy change and growth in target areas, such as public finance management and economic reform, private sector development, poverty reduction, administration, social affairs and technology, Ambassador Franz Jessen said.

Source: VNA