(photo: CPV)

The European Union Delegation to Vietnam held a press conference in Hanoi on June 18 to launch the 2013 edition of the EU Blue Book, an annual publication on the EU assistance to Vietnam.

The 104-page book summarises the EU’s policies on development of aid sources and areas of cooperation with Vietnam in 2012.

The book was compiled in the context of challenges faced by Vietnam after it became a middle-income country. It puts forth steps for the country to overcome these challenges.

Speaking at the event, EU Ambassador Franz Jessen expressed his hope that the EU’s bilateral assistance for Vietnam will contribute to accelerating the country’s policy reform in an array of areas such as legal regulations, public finance management and health.

The EU has also supported Vietnam in regional integration and strengthened cooperation with the country in energy, tourism, climate change and environment, he said.

The EU and its member states remain the world’s biggest official development assistance (ODA) supplier in 2012 with 55.2 billion EUR (roughly 71.7 billion USD) disbursed, accounting for over half of the global aid.

Last year, the bloc disbursed 395 million EUR in Vietnam and committed 743 million EUR for the country in 2013.

Between 2007 and 2013, the EU has always fulfilled its commitments despite the global economic crisis.

The EU’s loans and non-refundable aid have assisted the Vietnamese Government in economic restructuring and social welfare development, contributing to realising goals of sustainable growth, poverty reduction and global economic integration.

Last year, the two sides inked a friendship and cooperation agreement in order to diversify their relations.

In June 2012, they started negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), which demonstrates huge potential to promote economic development and job generation for both.

Source: VNA