EU pledges nearly $1 bln to aid Vietnam

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  EU officials meeting their Vietnamese counterparts June 18

The European Union will provide Vietnam 743 million euros, or US$995 million, in official development assistance this year, making it the country's biggest donor, news website Vietnamplus reported Tuesday.

Franz Jessen, the bloc's ambassador to Vietnam, said the EU believes its assistance would help Vietnam go faster in its process of reforming the country's policies in many fields such as legislation, public finance management, and health care.

It would also help Vietnam integrate into the region, directly support civil society, and increase cooperation with the country in such areas as energy, tourism, climate change, and the environment, he said.

The EU, despite its recent economic woes, has remained the world's biggest aid provider, accounting for more than half the global ODA, followed by the US and Japan.

Last year it disbursed $69.8 billion globally, including $528 million to Vietnam.

In 2007-13, it pledged $6.96 billion aid for Vietnam, including 43 percent in outright grants and the rest in loans.

Its Green Paper this year discusses the challenges that Vietnam has to face after becoming a middle-income nation amid the economic slowdown and the increased inequality.

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