The European Union (EU) will apply five assistance tools to Vietnam’s multifaceted development plan, as well as rapidly resolve its Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing ‘yellow card’ warning against the Southeast Asian country, the new EU ambassador to Vietnam recently announced.
Ambassador Julien Guerrier was speaking at his first media meeting in Hanoi on Wednesday, one day after taking office and presenting his letter of credentials to Vietnamese State President Vo Van Thuong.
Vietnam is an important EU partner in its Indo-Pacific strategy and the EU is one of Vietnam’s most reliable and long-standing friends and partners, Guerrier affirmed.
The new ambassador pledged that during his four-year term, the EU will continue to help Vietnam realize its vision of becoming a developed economy by 2045 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
To that effect, the EU will provide Vietnam with five support tools, the first of which is to continue promoting the effectiveness of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).
Since taking effect on August 1, 2020, the EVFTA has contributed to boosting Vietnam’s exports to the EU market, with last year’s export turnover to the 27-country bloc rising 16.7 percent compared to 2021, according to official figures.
The second assistance tool is the Global Gateway, an initiative that will offer about €300 billion (US$315 billion) to countries around the world, including Vietnam, to build sustainable infrastructure without creating public debt.
Additionally, the EU will coordinate with the UK to support Vietnam's green transition process by making the best use of the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) agreement in order to help the Southeast Asian nation achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
Fourthly, Horizon Europe, the EU’s key funding program for research and innovation, with its budget of €95.5 billion ($99.7 billion), will sponsor Vietnamese research institutes and encourage outstanding Vietnamese innovators to join in the exchange and sharing of knowledge and skills with their European counterparts.
The last tool the EU will give Vietnam is support from the EU’s Enhancing Security Cooperation In and With Asia (ESIWA) project so that Vietnam can improve its capabilities in maritime security and cybersecurity.
Answering questions from the press about a possible lift of the ‘yellow card’ warning imposed by the European Commission (EC) against Vietnamese seafood exports for IUU fishing since 2017, Ambassador Guerrier said it is an important matter that has been discussed for years between the two sides.
He shared his appreciation for Vietnam’s efforts in actively building a legal framework to combat IUU fishing, but stressed that it is more important for Vietnamese fishermen to properly comply with the framework.
Expressing his hope that the IUU yellow card warning will soon be resolved, the ambassador revealed that an EC working group will visit Vietnam next month to deal with the issue.
Guerrier also told the media that he and State President Thuong discussed Vietnam’s national motto ‘Doc Lap - Tu Do - Hanh Phuc’ (Independence - Freedom - Happiness) during the credentials presentation ceremony on Tuesday.
This motto covers the common aspirations of both European and Vietnamese people, the diplomat commented, adding that strengthening bilateral cooperation can help both sides achieve the goals stated in the motto.