Bilateral EU Cooperation with Vietnam began in 1990 with a programme to support the return of Vietnamese asylum seekers (€45 million). In 1996, the first meeting of the EC-Vietnam Joint Commission led to an agreed 'Framework Cooperation Agreement' which has since been the legal basis for cooperation between the two parties.
The first Cooperation Agreement was the basis for the launch of several development projects for over €102 million between 1996 and 2001. The projects concentrated on the development of the least developed rural and mountainous areas of the country, social sectors affected by the transition towards the market economy, on-going economic and administrative reforms and conditions for the development of trade and investment (see the list in annex).
Based on the lessons learned since 1996, a Country Strategy for EUR 162 million for the 5-year period 2002-2006 was agreed, aiming at reducing poverty, building capacity and helping Vietnam to integrate in the international economy – notably by joining the World Trade Organisation.
A second Country Strategy for the 2007-2013 (€298 million) was signed in 2007, again with the overall objective of the reducing poverty, in the line with Vietnam's Socio-economic Development Plan and the Millennium Development Goals strategy.
For the period 2014-2020, The new Multi-Annual Indicative Programme 2014-2020 contributes €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. By channelling our assistance through Vietnam's budget, focusing on specific sectors policy, and delivering in a limited number of areas, the Government of Viet Nam and the EU intend to raise the impact of the EU development grants through increased government ownership, donor harmonisation and complementarity, close alignment to government policies, and the use of government systems.
The EU also supports local government and civil society organisation partners through its thematic instruments in fields as diverse as women and children's rights, trade unions, climate change, sustainable energy, governance and rule of law, nuclear safety... to promote interventions at local level, local authorities and local civil society capacity building, technology transfer, exchange of knowledge. More than 30 projects are supported throughout the country.
The European Union and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) share a commitment to regional integration as a means of fostering regional stability, building prosperity, and addressing global challenges. The EU together with the Member States supports the ASEAN region with some €2 billion (2007-2013). In the same period, the European Commission has provided provide €70 million in funds to directly support the regional integration process, which includes the implementation of the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community (2009-2015).
In the current budget cycle 2014-2020, the EU will support ASEAN integration and the Secretariat with €170 million, more than double the amount under the previous cycle (close to €70 million, 2007-2013). The new programme will focus on enhancing connectivity, trade, addressing disaster management, climate change and promoting dialogue across the board.