Vietnam: Despite Human Rights Concerns, a Promising Partner for the EU in Asia

14-10-2015

The year 2015 – the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the EU and Vietnam – is likely to be a landmark one. Three years after the EU and Vietnam signed a framework agreement for a Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), the European Parliament has been requested to decide whether to give its consent to the agreement. Separately, the European Commission announced on 4 August 2015 that an agreement had been reached on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), three years after negotiations were launched. For the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, deepening relations with the EU is a priority, a way of offsetting China’s strong influence while maintaining independence from the United States. Within the country, the Communist Party maintains a firm grip on the state apparatus. Media and civil society are severely restricted, and the human rights record remains poor.

The year 2015 – the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the EU and Vietnam – is likely to be a landmark one. Three years after the EU and Vietnam signed a framework agreement for a Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), the European Parliament has been requested to decide whether to give its consent to the agreement. Separately, the European Commission announced on 4 August 2015 that an agreement had been reached on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), three years after negotiations were launched. For the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, deepening relations with the EU is a priority, a way of offsetting China’s strong influence while maintaining independence from the United States. Within the country, the Communist Party maintains a firm grip on the state apparatus. Media and civil society are severely restricted, and the human rights record remains poor.