Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and President of the European Commission (EC) Manuel Barroso have issued a statement detailing their orientations to conclude negotiations on the European Union (EU) – Vietnam free trade agreement.

The statement was released after their talks in Brussels on October 13.

During the talks, PM Nguyen Tan Dung stressed the need to finalise the framework Vietnam – EU Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, and suggested the EU recognise Vietnam as a market economy soon.

Speaking highly of the EU’s contributions to the Mekong-Danube cooperation within the Asia-Europe Meeting framework, the PM made it clear that Vietnam, in its capacity as a coordinator of the ASEAN-EU relations, backs the EU’s involvement in regional issues in which the ASEAN plays a key role and the formation of the ASEAN – EU strategic partnership.

Barroso assured the PM that the EC and EU member states will help bolster cooperation between Vietnam and the EU, and back the ASEAN’s central role in the evolving regional security architecture.

They pledged to facilitate exchanges at all levels and encourage business activity in both sides, apart from cooperation in health care, education, personnel training, environment and climate change.

Underscoring the need to ensure security, safety, maritime and aviation freedom in the East Sea, Barroso reaffirmed that the EU supports the peaceful settlement of disputes in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea.

Concluding the talks, both host and guest witnessed the signing of an aid deal worth 400 million EUR for Vietnam for the 2014-2020 period.-VNA