A Ho Chi Minh City leader has expressed wish that the European Union (EU) will continue providing ODA and non-refundable aid for the Southern economic hub to implement projects on public services, poverty reduction, education and climate change.

At a reception for visiting European Council President Herman Van Rompuy on November 1, Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee Le Hoang Quan further said that these projects are very significant for Vietnam in general and Ho Chi Minh City in particular.

He expressed his belief that Van Rompuy’s visit will open up a new chapter in the comprehensive relationship between Vietnam and the EU.

According to Quan, HCM City now has 450 representative offices of EU companies and 452 projects invested by EU countries with a total investment of over 3.5 billion USD. In 2011, the city imported more than 1.5 billion EUR worth of goods from the EU while its exports to this market exceeded 2 billion EUR.

Van Rompuy expressed his pleasure to visit Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City , one of the most dynamic cities in the country as well as in the region.

He said he is impressed by Vietnam’s development during the past two decades, especially in the fields of poverty reduction, political stability and economic growth.

The President affirmed that the EU wishes to further contribute to the development of the country in the coming time.

Recently, the two sides have signed a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement and launched the first round of negotiations for a free trade agreement. Besides, the European Investment Bank has agreed to provide financial packages worth 640 million EUR for Vietnam .

In Ho Chi Minh City , the bank has participated in a project to build a metro line as well as several other projects.

Earlier the same day, the Hanoi National University granted an Honorary Doctorate to the European Council President for his significant contributions on the development of the relationship between Vietnam and European countries.-VNA