FM meets with EU representatives and foreign counterparts in Belgium

Brussels: Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son engaged in multiple meetings with EU representatives and foreign ministers of various countries in Brussels, Belgium, on February 1 and 2, discussing specific issues concerning the enhancement of bilateral cooperation and coordination in regional and international mechanisms. At a meeting with Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission (EC), Son underscored Vietnam’s commitment to strengthening and deepening its comprehensive cooperation with the bloc. The minister proposed the two sides intensify high-level exchanges and fully implement existing cooperation mechanisms. He hoped that the remaining ten EU member states will soon complete the ratification of the Vietnam-EU Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA), and that the EC will soon lift its ‘yellow card’ warning imposed on Vietnam’s aquatic products concerning illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. He also supported expanding Vietnam-EU cooperation projects in potential areas such as climate change response and energy transition, particularly through the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) framework and the EU’s Global Gateway strategy. Borrell affirmed Vietnam’s importance as an EU partner in the region, pledging to expedite the completion of EVIPA ratification, thus creating favourable conditions to attract European investment flowing into Vietnam. Regarding IUU fishing issues, he acknowledged Vietnam’s positive efforts and expressed hope for a fruitful outcome in the upcoming EC inspection mission in the country. Both sides agreed to work together in addressing regional and global issues, aiming for peace, stability, cooperation, and development in the region and the world. * Meeting with Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mariya Gabriel, Son proposed that Bulgaria support the EC’s early removal of the IUU yellow card on Vietnamese seafood and cooperate with Vietnam in priority areas such as energy transition and green development. The two sides agreed to prepare well for upcoming high-level exchange activities, resume meetings of the intergovernmental committee on economy-trade and sci-tech cooperation, and explore opportunities to expand joint works in potential areas like education and training, labour, agriculture, health, and tourism. *Son’s meeting with his Polish counterpart Radoslaw Sikorski saw both sides reaffirming the importance of the countries’ longstanding traditional friendship and multifaceted cooperation. The Vietnamese FM proposed that Poland promptly ratify EVIPA in 2024, support the EC’s lifting of the yellow card imposed on Vietnam, and enhance collaboration with Vietnam in education and cultural exchange. Sikorski appreciated the positive contributions of the Vietnamese community in Poland and pledged to continue creating favorable conditions for them to live stably, long-term, and legally, contributing to strengthening the friendship between the two peoples. The FMs emphasised the importance of maintaining peace, stability, respecting independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of countries, and resolving disputes and conflicts peacefully based on international law and the United Nations Charter. * In another meeting, the Vietnamese diplomat and his Spanish counterpart, José Manuel Albares Bueno, stressed the importance of the Vietnam-Spain strategic partnership and agreed to promote the bilateral trade and investment ties, effectively implement the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), and expand collaboration in potential spheres, including infrastructure construction, digital transformation, education, and training. The Spanish FM expressed his desire to visit Vietnam this year to boost economic and trade cooperation between the two countries and suggested exploring opportunities for bilateral engagements in high-speed rail building. * During their meeting, Son and Greek FM Giorgos Gerapetritis agreed that both sides should continue to implement measures to further promote bilateral relations, especially in economy and trade. The Vietnamese minister proposed promoting the signing of cooperation agreements on maritime transport, labour, and double taxation avoidance and expanding collaboration to new areas, including digital transformation and green growth. The two ministers also discussed mutual international and regional concerns, affirming their commitment to close coordination, upholding international law and the UN Charter and contributing to maintaining peace, stability, security, and safety of navigation and overflight at seas, and resolving disputes peacefully based on international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). *In his meeting with Finnish FM Elina Valtonen, Son said Finland’s approval of EVIPA and implementation of the EVFTA open up new cooperation opportunities for the two countries, particularly in agriculture, high technology, renewable energy, and green growth. He proposed the European nation support Vietnam in tackling the IUU yellow card issue and developing sustainable fisheries. Valtonen said high technology is a potential area for bilateral cooperation, hoping that Vietnam will support Finland in enhancing relations with ASEAN, particularly regarding its participation in the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC). * The Vietnamese FM also met with EU Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen, who said Vietnam is the only partner that has established five large cooperation frameworks with the EU in politics, defence, trade, investment, and energy. She expressed her wish for both sides to continue effectively implementing their signed agreements, deepening their relations toward practical outcomes./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

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