Relations between Vietnam and the European Union (EU) in general and Belgium in particular are now in the finest phase of development and will witness breakthroughs with the signing of a free trade agreement in the next few months.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Belgium and the EU Pham Sanh Chau made the remark during his interview granted to Vietnam News Agency correspondents in Brussels on the threshold of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s official visit to the EU and Belgium from October 12-14.

PM Nguyen Tan Dung’s visit takes place amid the transition of leaders in Belgium and the EU as well as rapid global changes, the diplomat said.

The Government leader will meet with former EU and Belgian leaders to thank them for their contributions to the development of bilateral ties as well as talk with the new ones on measures to further relations.

The visit is expected to give a political momentum for the conclusion of the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement (EVFTA) in the next several months and open up new opportunities for cooperation between Vietnam and the two partners.

Notably, PM Nguyen Tan Dung and President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso are expected to issue a political statement in which they will emphasise the need to soon sign the EVFTA so as to enhance the mutually beneficiary comprehensive partnership between the two sides, Chau said.

They will witness the signing of a document welcoming the EU’s commitment to expanding the bloc’s assistance, valued at 400 million EUR, to Vietnam between 2014 and 2020, up 30 percent compared to the 2007-2013 period, the diplomat noted, adding that with such a pledge, the EU will continue to be Vietnam’s largest non-refundable assistance donor.

According to the ambassador, during the visit, Vietnam will grant an investment license to Belgium’s Rent-a-port engineering and investment company, which registered a 260 million USD investment in a 5,000ha project in Cat Hai island, the northern port city of Hai Phong.

Deeming the EU a leading partner, Vietnam always treasures bilateral cooperation which has been flourishing since both sides established their diplomatic relations in 1990, he said.

Meanwhile, the EU also values Vietnam’s potential and considers the country an important partner in the bloc’s strategy for Asia, Ambassador Chau said, noting that historical and cultural linkages also help facilitate the two sides’ relationship.-VNA