European Council president Charles Michel and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen have sent congratulations to Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on the 30th founding anniversary of Vietnam-EU diplomatic ties.

In their letters, the two EU leaders lauded Vietnam’s swift and decisive actions to contain the spread of Covid-19, successfully curbing the outbreak and minimising deaths. They also offered condolences to the families of victims in floods in central Vietnam in October.

They said that over the last 30 years, Vietnam had witnessed many developments, from the implementation of the doi moi (renewal) policy; the normalisation of relations with the EU, the US and China; and its joining ASEAN to extensive structural reforms and the strategy for socio-economic development via global integration.

These factors have helped Vietnam become one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, according to them.

Given the settlement of important global challenges requiring the participation of both Europe and Asia, the officials congratulated Vietnam on its constructive role as ASEAN chair this year.

The EU pledges to intensify EU-ASEAN cooperation and welcomes the official establishment of the EU-ASEAN strategic partnership at the ministerial meeting on December 1.

Vietnam was now an active member in the world, ready to assume growing international obligations, and share the EU’s strong commitment to multilateralism, they said, adding that the pandemic was a global crisis that needed international solidarity and cooperation.

In their letters, the presidents of the European Council and Commission said over the last three decades, the EU-Vietnam partnership had developed unceasingly, supported by agreements covering different domains, from politics, trade and defence to anti-illegal logging.

By building a stronger partnership, the EU and Vietnam could handle global challenges, and as a long-standing friend of Vietnam, the EU would welcome the two sides discussing difficult issues in an open, straightforward and constructive manner, they affirmed.

The officials noted the EU-Vietnam partnership was first and foremost for the sake of the Vietnamese and European people, and development cooperation would remain an important element in the EU’s commitment to Vietnam.

They expressed the willingness to enhance ties with Vietnam in dealing with major global challenges, contributing to peace and development in the world.

Michel and Leyen also hope to visit Vietnam at an appropriate time.

In a message on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two sides, Josep Borrell, the EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy and vice-president of the European Commission, said Vietnam had experienced fruitful cooperation in various sectors in the past 30 years.

Vietnam is among the countries in ASEAN and the Asia-Pacific to have developed comprehensive relations with the EU. He described the signing of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) as an extraordinary step in bilateral ties.