Vice President of European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis (Source: jm-madeira.pt)
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh has asked Vice President of the European Commission (EC) Valdis Dombrovskis to help accelerate the signing of the EU- Vietnam free trade agreement (EVFTA).

During a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on September 18 with the EC Vice President, Deputy PM Ninh also expressed hope that the EU will share more experience in sustainable development with Vietnam, while pledging to implement multilateral treaties on the environment and basic conventions of the International Labour Organisation to which Vietnam is a member.

Speaking of the EU’s role in cooperation with ASEAN, the Deputy PM confirmed that Vietnam always appreciates the union’s role in and contributions to Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) cooperation mechanism. He sought the union’s support for Vietnam’s initiatives on issues of mutual viewpoint, as well as its greater contribution to ASEM’s efforts to respond to global challenges like climate change, disaster risk reduction, water resource, food and energy security, and sustainable development.

Mentioning the East Sea issue, Ninh stated that China’s illegal construction on large scale on reef islands in Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago has seriously threatened peace, stability, and aviation and maritime security, safety and freedom in the East Sea which is home to an important maritime route connecting Europe and Asia, and at the same time caused serious impacts on the marine environment.

He reiterated Vietnam’s consistent policy to solve disputes by peaceful means in accordance with international law, especially the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982, while avoiding actions that complicate the situation, not using or threatening to use force, fully implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and working towards the early formation of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea.

For his part, Valdis Dombrovskis said he hopes for the signing of the EVFTA within 2015 and a Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation between the two sides in 2016.

Mentioning the EU’s recognition of Vietnam’s market economy status, he shared that the two sides are working on necessary technical factors toward the early recognition.

He said he hopes that Vietnam will allow the EU’s wood to enter its market.

The EU is exerting efforts to assist the Lower Mekong region, he stated, adding that the EU has to date provided 2 billion EUR to narrow development gap between Lower Mekong countries with developed nations in the region.

The EU also hopes to join the East Asia Summit (EAS).

The EC Vice President shared concerns with Vietnam over recent construction on reef islands in the East Sea, while affirming the EU’s backing of the settlement of the East Sea issue by peaceful ways through international law, stressing that maritime security is critical to both Asian and European nations.-VNA