The second Joint Committee under the European Union (EU) – Viet Nam Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation Framework Agreement (PCA) met online on 15 December 2020.
The EU delegation was led by Mr. Gunnar Wiegand, Managing Director for Asia and Pacific in the European External Action Service. The Vietnamese delegation was led by Mr. To Anh Dzung, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The Joint Committee recalled how, since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1990, EU – Viet Nam cooperation has evolved exponentially, spanning across many important domains such as foreign policy, trade, environment, energy, science and technology, good governance, as well as security and defense.
The celebration of the 30th anniversary of EU – Viet Nam relations happened in unprecedented times, where COVID-19 transformed the global landscape and created the necessity for enhanced global cooperation. The EU and Viet Nam agreed to further strengthen their partnership, both bilaterally and within multilateral fora, to uphold the international rules-based order and promote peace and prosperity through a sustainable recovery.
The Joint Committee reviewed challenges in Viet Nam and in the EU, as well as regional and international developments. They highlighted their respective engagement in the areas of connectivity, environment and climate action.
The EU and Viet Nam also welcomed the launching of the EU-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Strategic Partnership during the Vietnamese ASEAN Chairmanship at the ministerial meeting on 1 December 2020.This will give both partners the opportunity to step up their engagement in support of effective multilateralism and the rules-based international order. It will also provide a platform for regular Summit-level talks.
The EU greatly appreciated the opportunity given by Viet Nam – Chair of ASEAN 2020 – to attend the Guests of the Chair Programme and the 10th Anniversary ceremony of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+) held on 9 and 10 December 2020.
In the Ministerial Meeting, the High Representative had highlighted the EU’s solid track record of security cooperation with the ASEAN region, from supporting peace processes in the region, to increasingly close cooperation on maritime security, cyber-security and counterterrorism.
The Joint Committee discussed the state of play and next steps in the implementation of the different agreements underpinning EU-Viet Nam relations, notably the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, the Framework Participation Agreement, the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement and the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) – Voluntary Partnership Agreement.
The Joint Committee also discussed the necessary measures in Viet Nam to fight Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. The EU encouraged Viet Nam to further efforts to implement the European Commission’s recommendations on IUU fishing. Viet Nam hoped the yellow card warning would be lifted soon. The EU reiterated its availability to continue cooperating with Viet Nam in this matter in the framework of the bilateral IUU formal dialogue.
The Joint Committee also exchanged views on the focal sectors of the development cooperation programme 2014-2020, notably sustainable energy, governance, and the rule of law. They reviewed proposals for cooperation in the field of human rights, including implementing accepted recommendations under the Universal Periodic Review and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The EU hoped that those important recommendations would be implemented soon.
The next Joint Committee meeting is expected to take place in Hanoi in 2021.