Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (Source: VNA)
Brussels (VNA) –Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and his entourage arrived in the Brussels Military Airport on December 2, beginning his working visit to Belgium and the EU.

The PM was welcomed at the airport by Ambassador to Belgium Vuong Thua Phong, who is also head of the Vietnamese Delegation to the EU, the Vietnamese Embassy’s staff and representatives of the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Right after his arrival, PM Nguyen Tan Dung held a meeting with the staff of the Vietnamese Embassy and representatives of the Vietnamese community in Belgium.

Briefing them on the homeland’s socio-economic situation, the leader attributed such achievements Vietnam has recorded in national construction and defence to efforts of the whole Party, army and people, including contributions of overseas Vietnamese – an integral part of the nation.

He expressed his hope that the Vietnamese nationals in Belgium will carry forward the solidarity to support each other in the host country and better perform their role as a bridge promoting cooperation between Vietnam and the European nation in all areas.

The PM called on them to join hands with people at home to realise the goal of a wealthy people and a strong, democratic, equal and civilised country.

During his stay in Belgium, PM Nguyen Tan Dung is expected to hold talks with PM Charles Michel.

Two-way trade between Vietnam and Belgium has seen sustainable growth, increasing to 2.3 billion USD in 2014 from 395.4 million USD in 2000. The figure reached 1.5 billion USD in the first eight months of 2015.

The two countries signed an investment encouragement and protection agreement in 1991. By October, Belgium had run 59 projects worth 420 million USD in Vietnam, while Vietnam has invested in two projects in the European country.

In Belgium, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung is scheduled to meet the Presidents of the European Commission, the European Council and the European Parliament to discuss cooperation opportunities in the fields of energy, green growth and vocational training.

Vietnam and the EU officially established their diplomatic ties on November 28, 1990. A series of activities have been held throughout this year to celebrate the 25 th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations.

The EU is Vietnam’s second largest trade partner, after China, and its second biggest importer, following the US. Two-way trade increased eightfold from 4.5 billion USD in 2001 to 36.8 billion USD in 2014. Turnover hit 30.8 billion USD between January and September, a year-on-year rise of 15.5 percent, of which 22.6 billion USD came from Vietnam’s exports.

The EU is also one of the big ODA suppliers for Vietnam. Between 1993 and 2013, the EC and EU members committed to providing nearly 14 billion USD in ODA for Vietnam, accounting for 20 percent of the total amount committed by the international community.

Between 2014 and 2020, the EC pledged to provide 400 million EUR (423.5 million USD) for the Southeast Asian country, with a focus on sustainable energy and institutional affairs.-VNA