Head of Vietnam's National Assembly’s Committee for External Relations Tran Van Hang (R) ​and EU Ambassador to ASEAN Francisco Fontan Pardo (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The EU will double funding for ASEAN to fulfill its development targets, visiting EU Ambassador to ASEAN Francisco Fontan Pardo said at a press conference in Hanoi on May 12.

Francisco Fontan Pardo is the first EU Ambassador to ASEAN.

He said the EU will work to step up cooperation with ASEAN across the board, while supporting the bloc in building its pillars on security, economics and culture-society.

The EU will speed up negotiations on a free trade agreement and an aviation cooperation pact with the bloc, he added.

The EU looks to strengthen mutual support with the bloc at regional and international forums, he stated.

The diplomat also lauded multifaceted affiliations between the EU and Vietnam, expecting that his union’s ties with ASEAN will grow as strongly as with Vietnam.

The EU is currently the second largest trade partner of ASEAN and the third biggest investor in Southeast Asia .

In 2015, bilateral trade hit 201 billion EUR, up 11 percent year-on-year.

During the 2014-2020 budget period, the EU committed 170 million EUR to ASEAN, compared to 70 million USD for 2007-2013.-VNA