Development Cooperation


The European Union (EU) has been supporting Vietnam’s efforts towards poverty reduction, sustainable development and integration into the world economy since the 1990s. Development cooperation between Vietnam and the EU began with support for the return of Vietnamese asylum seekers in 1990. In 1996, the first meeting of the EC-Vietnam Joint Commission led to the “Framework Cooperation Agreement” which represented the legal basis for development cooperation between the two parties. The overall strategic objective of the EU in Viet Nam is to further develop political, economic and cultural ties and to increase the visibility, understanding and presence of the EU in the country. The Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, signed in 2012, formalizes the EU's strategic objectives in line with Viet Nam’s Socio-Economic Development Plan (2011-2020). With this Agreement, the EU intends to leverage on its added value in specific areas for a strengthened partnership, dialogue and cooperation with Viet Nam. These include the EU’s unique and successful integration model based on fundamental values of democracy and human rights; its advanced regulatory environment and technological know-how to address global challenges on environment and climate change; and, its unique experience on a broad range of regional integration issues which are of high importance for Viet Nam as a Member of ASEAN.

Since 1990, the European Commission has provided more than EUR 600 million in grants for specific projects and programmes. The last Country Strategy Paper , covering the period from 2007 until 2013, allocated a total of EUR 298.6 million for health, rural development, governance and economic cooperation. Additionally, many EU member states are also active in the country through their own development budgets. In 2013, EUR 743 million (US$965 million) were allocated for development cooperation to Vietnam, making EU and its Member States the largest grant donor in Vietnam.

The previous cooperation programme for period 2007-2013 was EUR 298.4 million, focused on the areas of health, trade assistance, rule of law and responsible tourism. In the new programme, EU's bilateral aid package has increased by more than 30% percent as compared to the previous 7-year period. The new Multi-Annual Indicative Programme 2014-2020 will contribute EUR 400 milllion to support Viet Nam's socio-economic development by developing a sustainable energy sector and by strengthening governance and the rule of law. A number of new projects in these fields will be designed and launched over the coming years.

The bilateral cooperation is complemented with regional cooperation and thematic programmes for Civil Society Organizations, environment, gender, etc. EU grants and loans to Vietnam are in line with the country's socio-economic priorities, as underlined in the Socio-Economic Development Strategy, and come in support to the government efforts of restructuring the economy with the aim of ensuring long term growth and welfare for its citizens. EU has allocated development assistance to sectors where Vietnam is seeking progressive reforms in order to maximise synergies between government policies and development assistance programmes, and thus to contribute to the overall objective of inclusive and sustainable growth, poverty reduction and equity, and integration in the world economy. 

The EU Development policy is enshrined in the Agenda for Change Communication , adopted in May 2012, which concentrates EU aid on poverty reduction and sectors setting the foundation for inclusive and sustainable growth, including good governance (respect of human rights and democracy; gender equality, role of civil society and the fight against corruption); social protection, health and education; supporting a favourable business environment and deeper regional integration; and sustainable agriculture and clean energy, helping to provide safeguards against  external  shocks  and  turn  challenges  of  food  security  and  climate  change  into opportunities for growth.

Blue Book

The Blue Book is a report on the overall European Union (EU) cooperation activities in Viet Nam. The objective of this report is to provide an overview, as well as specific details of EU (Member States and the European Commission) official development assistance (ODA) to Viet Nam. It also provides general and updated information about the EU institutional system and EU overall development policies.