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EU continues to strengthen multifaceted cooperation with Việt Nam

Monday, 20/05/2024 | 11:03:51 [GMT +7] A  A

On the occasion of the 74th anniversary of the formation of the European Union, the Ambassador of the European Union in Việt Nam Julien Guerrier talked to Việt Nam News' Anh Đức about their growing relationship, investment deals and academic and infrastructure cooperation.

Ambassador of the European Union in Việt Nam Julien Guerrier. Photo courtesy of the EU Delegation in Việt Nam.

On the occasion of the 74th anniversary of the formation of the European Union, the Ambassador of the European Union in Việt Nam Julien Guerrier talked to Việt Nam News' Anh Đức about their growing relationship, investment deals and academic and infrastructure cooperation.

Ambassador, how do you assess the progress of the ratification of the EU-Việt Nam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA)? And what kind of impact do you foresee it has on investment between the European Union and Việt Nam?

We currently have 17 member states that I believe have ratified and we still need ten more. EVIPA is what we call a shared competence agreement, so it's EU and the member states that have to ratify, (which is different from) the EVFTA that only the EU Parliament needed to ratify, so it was much faster.

But for the EVIPA, we need all member states with a much longer process, because some member states have also several regions that have to all ratify. So we are trying to push member states to accelerate the process because we believe that it will have a very positive impact not only on investment from Europe, into Việt Nam, but also from Việt Nam into Europe, because companies would feel better protected about their investments.

Currently we have huge investments from Europe to Việt Nam even without the agreement, which is very positive. But I'm convinced because I'm talking to enterprises, that when EVIPA enters into force, it will even boost further European investment in Việt Nam that would be good for our companies and good for the sustainable development of Việt Nam.

We have a very strong joint interest between the government of Việt Nam and the EU to have speedy ratification, and I am regularly pushing our member states that have not yet ratified to accelerate and I know that Việt Nam is doing the same in their bilateral contacts. And I hope that not too far in the future I will be able to celebrate with you the ratification by all member states and the entry into force of EVIPA.

As a former Erasmus alumni, I want to ask you a question on academic cooperation between Việt Nam in the European Union? Are there any new initiatives or programmes being developed to facilitate these educational opportunities?

I believe that Europe has some of the best universities in the world – and that it is in our mutual interest to have as many Vietnamese students coming to Europe to study to develop themselves and to better understand Europe, because this is not just (about) supporting the education of Vietnamese people, but it is also improving the mutual understanding between Europeans and by being more in contact.

Erasmus is a very popular program, not just the Erasmus Mundus (EU's postgraduate scholarship programme) but of course the core Erasmus one, which enables students to move between member states. So we regularly increase the budget of Erasmus providing more opportunities also for Vietnamese students to come to Europe.

Our member states have their own scholarships systems and we are also discussing with them how to increase those opportunities and even beyond those programs and scholarships, I believe that as the Vietnamese's purchasing power is increasing fast they would have more and more the capacity to come to Europe where you have high quality studies for very reasonable cost.

Recently, Hà Nội Metro Line 3 had a trial run, and it is expected to be in operation this summer. Tell us about the cooperation of Việt Nam and the EU in infrastructure projects that aim at sustainable development?

I think it is a very exemplary project that will increase sustainable transport opportunities for Hanoians here, enabling faster, cleaner transportation. It is supported by European funding from the European Investment Bank, from France and from several actors from Europe. It is also displaying European technologies and technology trends and we want this project to accelerate the sustainable development of Hà Nội and Việt Nam.

I had a chance to experience a trial run of the line to the depot and we are pushing for the underground line connecting to Hà Nội Station to soon be constructed. We have a lot of expectations for this project.

Ambassador, can you comment on the possibility of Việt Nam removing the IUU yellow card in the future and what do you think about the efforts of Việt Nam to implement the recommendations?

We have an excellent cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and I met with the minister a couple of weeks ago, they are very determined to do what it takes to ensure that the yellow card can be lifted as soon as possible.

Việt Nam has already put in place a very good legislative framework. They have also equipped the fishing vessels, with tracking devices in order to be able to follow them. What is still the remaining problem is enforcement when there are fishermen who switch off their tracking devices or go to forbidden zones or to foreign countries to fish illegally. They are either not caught or when they are caught they are not sanctioned sufficiently.

But there is progress there as well. Some provinces, I think, are doing very well to implement that. And recently, the government of Việt Nam has adopted administrative decrees to sanction and fine the fishermen that are not respecting the rules. So, we are hopeful that with all these efforts, the situation will improve further in Việt Nam.

We decided together with the Ministry of Agriculture not to fix a date (of the inspection) because we want the next inspection to be positive. We want to be sure that it comes at a time when the situation is fully satisfactory in Việt Nam.

It will take several months because the new decrees on administrative sanctions enter into force on May 19, but you will need a little time to see the effect of that and see if it has been effective in incentivising the fishermen not to fish illegally anymore.

We are closing in on the European Parliament elections in June, what do you think are the impacts of the upcoming elections on EU-Việt Nam policies?

I believe there is a conceptual view that we need to invest more in the Indo-Pacific region. The European Union adopted an Indo-Pacific strategy a few years ago and yet none is a rising geopolitical power in the Indo-Pacific and is one of our closest partners.

We have an FTA, EVIPA and many other agreements with Việt Nam. Việt Nam is our first trading partner in ASEAN, the first beneficiary of ODA from Europe and Europe is the first provider of ODA in grants to Việt Nam.

We are working together on climate action with the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP), which is a very close partnership and the vast majority of the parliament supports this so I don't expect any change of policy due to the European elections.

Source: Vietnam News