On June 25, 2014, European Union released a new version of the Blue Book summarizing the newest policies on grant and cooperation between EU and Vietnam. The theme of the Blue Book this year concentrates on the poverty rate of ethnic minorities in Vietnam. Although Vietnam has made some important steps in poverty reduction in ethnic minority groups, the poverty rate of these groups is still much higher than the national average rate.
Accordingly, EU and the members of EU were still the world’ biggest official development assistance (ODA) in 2013 with the contribution of EUR 56.5 billion ($76.8 billion), accounting for 50 percent of the total global aid. In Vietnam, EU disbursed EUR 456 million ($619.8 million) in 2013 and pledged to provide EUR 542 million ($736.7 million) in this year. Five leading non-refundable donors in Vietnam in 2014 are Demark (EUR 30.5 million), the EU Delegation (EUR 13 million), Netherlands (EUR 15 million), Belgium (EUR 12 million), and Ireland (EUR 11 million). As analysis data from 2007, EU still remains the amount of ODA for Vietnam in spite of the global economic crisis. This proves the importance of Vietnam European relation.
Nonetheless, Vietnam became a middle-income country in 2010; therefore, some changes in funding methods have taken place. Specifically, the total value of ODA for Vietnam in 2014 increased, but non-refundable aid plummeted from EUR 191 million (in 2013) to EUR 130 million; correspondingly fell from 42% to 24%. Besides, the loans rose from EUR 264 million (2013) to EUR 412 million and accounted for 76% the total capital commitment of this year. At the press conference, Dr. Franz Jesen said, “Bilateral support provided by EU and members of EU in the past 20 years has helped Vietnam to achieve the common goal of poverty reduction; the development of economics, society and regional and global integration. EU still maintains a strong commitment to support the development, commercial ambitions and international commitment of Vietnam by remaining the level of ODA for the next years, signing a free trade agreement (FTA) by the end of 2014 and strengthening political relations.”
Seven years ago, EU provided ODA for Vietnam concentrated on the aspect of health sectors, which accounted for 62% of EU funding. However, in the next seven years, EU will focus on sustainable energy, which is considered as the strength of EU and also the problems that Vietnam are facing. Dr. Franz Jesen spoke: “EU has received commitments for stable business and investment environment from Vietnam, hence, in the next time; EU will concentrate on funding in the field of sustainable energy.