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Romania can be a gateway for Vietnamese goods to Europe: Ambassador
Ngo Minh 16:16, 2024/01/17
Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh's upcoming visit to Romania is expected to mark a milestone in bilateral cooperation, said Romanian Ambassador to Vietnam Cristina Romila.

With Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh scheduled to visit Romania from 21 to 23 January, Romanian Ambassador to Vietnam Cristina Romila told The Hanoi Times of her expectations for good relations between the two countries.

 Ambassador Cristina Romila is optimistic about the results of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh's visit to Romania.  Photo: Ngo Minh/The Hanoi Times

How do you assess the importance of this visit?

It is certainly an opportunity to promote the dialogue between Romania and Vietnam at the Prime Ministerial level.

The last contact at this level took place in 2016 (the official visit of Romanian Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos to Vietnam) and in 2019 (the official visit of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to Romania). It has been five years since we witnessed a diplomatic event at the Prime Ministerial level.

The visit is also deeply symbolic, highlighting the strong people-to-people exchanges that have become the foundation of bilateral relations over the past 74 years since the two countries established diplomatic relations on February 3, 1950.

I believe the Prime Minister's visit can add value to the positive developments we have seen in recent years in bilateral dialogues, cooperation agreements and the economy.

This visit will be an important milestone in Vietnam-Romania diplomatic relations, making cooperation between the two sides more practical and deeper and helping to improve understanding of each other's priorities and interests.

This visit also has a special meaning for Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, who graduated from the Bucharest University of Civil Engineering in Romania and also worked at the Vietnamese Embassy in Romania (1991-1994). Therefore, we feel honored and appreciate the effectiveness of this visit.

 Ambassador Cristina Romila (center) introduces the performance of Romanian artists at the Cello Fundamento Concert in Hanoi in 2022. Photo courtesy of Cello Fundamento

Could you recall some outstanding achievements in the relationship between Vietnam and Romania in recent times?

As I said, Vietnam and Romania have diplomatic relations based on a long-standing friendship. Romania was one of the first countries to establish relations with Vietnam.

Since the visit of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, I think the past five years have reaffirmed the traditional friendship between the two countries, with intensified high-level dialogue and cooperation to solve major challenges, such as the Covid-19 pandemic or the efforts to evacuate more than 1,000 Vietnamese citizens from the conflict in Ukraine.

I can mention the recent high-level meeting between Romanian President Klaus Werner Iohannis and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA, September 2023), the ASEAN-European Union (EU) commemoration of the 45th anniversary of ASEAN-EU dialogue relations in Brussels, Belgium (December 2022), the phone call between the Vietnamese President and the Romanian President (July 2021).

In particular, the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) were signed during the Romanian Presidency of the European Council. Romania was one of the first EU members to ratify EVIPA.

At the same time, following the Covid-19 pandemic, people-to-people diplomacy between the two countries has been promoted, along with cultural, academic and business exchanges. Representatives from 30 Romanian universities have visited Vietnam in the past two years. The Romanian Bucharest Symphony Orchestra performed in Hanoi and Da Lat in 2022 and 2023. A number of Romanian business delegations have also visited Vietnam to seek partnership opportunities, contributing to the diversification of bilateral economic cooperation.

Recently, the 17th meeting of the Vietnam-Romania Joint Committee for Economic Cooperation was held in Hanoi in November 2023, with significant results. The two sides agreed on important cooperation mechanisms in common interests such as trade, agriculture, sanitation, energy, labor, science, technology and culture.

 The Romanian Bucharest Symphony Orchestra will perform in Hanoi and Da Lat in 2022 and 2023. Photo: Hoa Nguyen/The Hanoi Times

Given the good results achieved so far, what are your expectations for future development cooperation between the two countries?

Economically, Romania can become a gateway to bring Vietnamese goods to Europe, similar to Vietnam, creating conditions for Romania to access the ASEAN market. We need to effectively use EVFTA to open each other's markets and attract investment in areas of mutual interest.

The traditional relationship, the strong friendship between the two countries and the potential of the bilateral agenda help create a favorable environment for the two countries to move forward into a promising future.

What are your priorities during your tenure to promote cooperation between the two countries?

I took up my duties as Ambassador in April 2021. During this time, I have had the opportunity to explore rich architecture, unique cuisine, a civilized and polite society, and hardworking people who are always proud of their country.

The position of Ambassador is both an honor and a great responsibility. The two peoples have worked side by side through the difficulties of the 20th century and have created great opportunities for cooperation in the 21st century. That is why we must work harder to promote friendship. The two countries will develop strongly in the future, building on the good foundation of the past.

During this term, we have several important priorities, including strengthening high-level political-diplomatic contacts, diversifying economic exchanges, enhancing people-to-people contacts, and building new bridges through cultural cooperation and enhanced academic exchanges. We also look forward to developing new areas of cooperation, such as pharmaceuticals and information technology.

Thanks for your time.

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