Prime Minister’s EU visit featured in European media

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s visit to the European Union from October 13-18 was covered by a series of articles in the European press.

Belgian online newspaper NewEurope ran an exclusive interview with the PM on October 14, conveying the government leader’s ambition to boost its comprehensive partnership with the EU.

He highlighted the importance of Vietnam’s bilateral ties with the EU in a number of fields, including politics, economics and trade, development cooperation and cooperation to address global issues. 

“Vietnam–EU relations are entering a phase of maturity and ready to take off to a new height with greater substance and efficiency,” the PM said, adding that “the official signing of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) and initiation of negotiations of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in June 2012 represent a vigorous and substantial growth in Vietnam–EU relations.”

He spoke of the country’s ongoing efforts to restructure State-owned enterprises (SOEs), saying that it constituted a crucial part of the overall economic restructuring process associated with a transformation of the growth model towards enhanced productivity, efficiency and competitiveness in 2013-2020.

“In the coming years, the equitisation and reform of SOEs will be carried out to increase transparency and uphold market rules parallel with the promotion of capital markets,” he said.

Accordingly, Vietnam will facilitate foreign and domestic investors to buy shares, he said, adding that Vietnam would apply measures to attract foreign investment by creating a level playing field for all economic actors and improve legislations on foreign investment.

Regarding territorial sovereignty, PM Dung affirmed that Vietnam was persistently protecting national sovereignty and the legitimate interests of Vietnam in the East Sea in accordance with international law. 

“Yet, we are always sincere to attach importance to and wish to enhance the friendly neighbourliness and comprehensive cooperation with China,” he said. 

High-level leaders of the two countries agreed to resume and strengthen bilateral ties in different fields, control and manage their differences, and resolve disputes in the East Sea peacefully and in accordance with international laws, he said.

During the interview, the PM clarified questions on the partial removal of the US arms embargo and the impacts of constructing large-scale hydropower plants on the Mekong River.

Other newspapers, such as “Le Soir” and “La Libre”, ran stories with photographs on the new Belgian government’s first reception for a foreign head of state, Nguyen Tan Dung.

The press featured photographs of PM Charles Michel, as well as a TV bulletin on the website RTL showing the public’s reaction to the talks between the two PMs.

Website 7/7 focused on the two cooperation documents signed at the end of their talks.

Just like the media in Belgium, newspapers in Germany, the second destination on the PM’s EU tour, focussed on the visit, particularly on the finalisation of the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement.

The deal would provide large opportunities for EU businesses to quickly access the Vietnamese market, as well as others in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region, a Dusseldorf newspaper wrote.

Others, such as DW and the website, stated that German firms have the chance to invest in and cooperate with Vietnam.

Over the past decade, bilateral trade between the EU and Vietnam rose to EUR26 billion from EUR5 billion.

Vietnam’s export value to Germany tripled its EUR1.85 billion imports to EUR5.57 billion.