Revitalizing the Vietnam-Hungary Comprehensive Partnership

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh's official trip to Hungary serves to enhance political confidence, deepen the comprehensive partnership between Vietnam and Hungary in every aspect, and breathe new life into the longstanding friendship between the two nations.

0
109

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, his spouse, and a high-ranking delegation of Vietnam arrived in Budapest on January 18 afternoon (local time), beginning an official visit to Hungary from January 18-20 at the invitation of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

The visits are expected to help strengthen the traditional friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and the two European countries, VNA reported.

Hungary and Romania were among the first 10 countries in the world to recognize and establish diplomatic relations with Vietnam. Over the past 70 years or so, the governments and people of the two countries have always given Vietnam great affection and support in its fight for independence, national unification, and socio-economic development.

This is the first Prime Ministerial-level visit between Vietnam and Hungary for 7 years.

Vietnamese PM Pham Minh Chinh (left) and his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban meet in Budapest on January 18 afternoon. Photo: VNA

Political trust is the foundation

Hungary has always viewed Vietnam as an important partner in Southeast Asia. The two became comprehensive partners in September 2018. A number of projects using Hungarian ODA loans have brought socio-economic efficiency to Vietnam, such as a project to build a residential management system and a water supply project in Quang Trach district, Quang Binh province.

Vietnam and Hungary set up their diplomatic ties on February 3, 1950. Since then, the two nations have stood side by side with and supported each other during the wartime, and in the current national building cause. Bilateral friendship and cooperation have developed well in various fields such as education and training, legal and judicial affairs, culture, sports, and people-to-people exchanges.

In recent years, their political relationship has been tightened on the basis of mutual trust and understanding, with all-level and high-level delegation exchanges held in all Party, Government, National Assembly and locality channels.

Since 2014 up to now, the President, Chairman of the National Assembly, and Prime Minister of Hungary have all visited Vietnam, notably: President Ader Janos (November 2014); National Assembly Chairman Kover Laszlo (November 2015); Prime Minister Viktor Orban (September 2017); Permanent Vice Chairman of the Hungarian Parliament Marta Matrai (January 2022).

National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue visited and encouraged Embassy staff and the Vietnamese community in Hungary during his visit to Hungary, June 2022. Source: Vietnamese Embassy in Hungary

In return, the official visit to Hungary by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in 2018 marked the elevation of bilateral relations to a comprehensive partnership. Hungary is now the sole comprehensive partner of Vietnam in the Central Eastern Europe.

Vietnam and Hungary have also cooperated closely and effectively and supported each other at multilateral forums, especially at the United Nations and within the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) framework. The Hungarian government supported Vietnam to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2020-2021 term, while Vietnam backed Hungary’s entry into the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOS) for the 2011-2013 term.

In addition, within the ASEM framework, Vietnam has supported Hungary’s initiative on the role of water resources in the regional sustainable development strategy, and is also ready to assist Hungary in strengthening cooperation with ASEAN and its member countries.

Effective cooperation in many fields

Hungary actively advocated the approval of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and was the first EU member state to ratify the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA), showcasing their commitment to fostering economic ties.

To date, Vietnam has successfully negotiated and signed three framework agreements on financial cooperation with Hungary, totaling EUR 535 million.

Meanwhile, Hungary’s investment in Vietnam remains stable with 22 projects worth USD 72.28 million in total, ranking 51st among the 143 countries and territories investing in the Southeast Asian country.

Vietnamese Ambassador to the European nation Nguyen Thi Bich Thao said that bilateral trade ties are not commensurate with available potential despite the growth. She suggested the two sides increase trade exchanges to exploit their strengths, and supplement each other.

In particular, Vietnam is a developing country, needing more and more modern machinery and equipment, high value-added products.

At the same time, Vietnam has strengths in producing and exporting agricultural products, seafood, textiles, footwear, electronic components. Therefore, the two sides can increase trade exchanges to exploit each other’s strengths and supplement goods lacking in each country’s market due to lack of conditions for production.

Regarding investment, Hungary considers Vietnam a priority partner in its international development support policy. Labor is a potential area of cooperation between the two countries. Since 2018, more than 1,000 Vietnamese people have travelled to work at factories and companies in the European nation.

Education and training is a traditional field of cooperation between the two countries. During the four decades from 1950 to 1989, Hungary supported Vietnam in training nearly 4,000 doctors, masters, and engineers, many of whom have held important positions in Vietnam. Hungary is the country that grants the most scholarships to Vietnamese students in the Central Eastern Europe region.

Since 2018, the Hungarian Government has increased the number of scholarships for Vietnam to 200 each year at all training levels and fields where Hungary has strengths such as medicine, pharmacy, agriculture, technology, and information technology, economics, law, and music.

The Hungary-Vietnam Friendship Association plays an active role in promoting friendship between the two peoples and promoting Vietnam in Hungary. The Vietnamese community in Hungary currently has about 6,000 people, well integrated and reputable in the host country. Under the leadership of the Vietnamese Association in Hungary, there are always many positive activities, towards the homeland, promoting Vietnamese culture and traditions.

In the context of such positive developments in the relationship between the two countries, the official visit to Hungary by PM Pham Minh Chinh and his wife this time has important significance to further deepen the Vietnam-Hungary partnership, especially in economics, education-training, pharmaceutical technology.

At the same time, in the context that Hungary is about to hold the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU in the last half of 2024, during which it will focus on economic recovery, PM Chinh’s visit will help tackle bottlenecks and step up Vietnam’s trade and investment links with the EU via Hungary.

Hannah Nguyen