EU pledges $1.12 bln in aid to Vietnam for 2010

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The European Union will give 940 million euros (US$1.12 billion) worth of aid to Vietnam this year even though European economies are affected by the Greek debt crisis, a European Commission official said Monday.

One third of the amount will be non-refundable, Sean Doyle, the head of the European Commission delegation to Vietnam, said in Hanoi at the launching ceremony of Blue Book 2010, an annual report on their activities in Vietnam.

According to the Blue Book, the EU is currently Vietnam's biggest provider of non-refundable aid.

But the EU is "not interested" in the $56 billion Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City express rail project, which is now being considered by the National Assembly, he said.

The EU is neither a big donor nor investor in transport and infrastructure projects, he explained.

"We will be particularly interested in the poorer communities. There are some 10 million people, especially ethnic minorities in remote areas, living in poverty in Vietnam."

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