Parliamentary leaders of Vietnam, Bulgaria hold talks strengthening cooperation

On January 8, in Hanoi, Chairman of the National Assembly (NA) Vuong Dinh Hue and Speaker of the Bulgarian NA Rosen Dimitrov Jeliazkov held talks, agreeing that the two NAs will push ahead with implementing the recently signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation.
Parliamentary leaders of Vietnam, Bulgaria hold talks strengthening cooperation
Parliamentary leaders of Vietnam, Bulgaria hold talks strengthening cooperation: Chairman of the Vietnamese NA Vuong Dinh Hue (R) and Speaker of the Bulgarian NA Rosen Dimitrov Jeliazkov in Hanoi on January 8, 2024. (Photo: VNA)

From January 5 to 9, Speaker Jeliazkov is paying an official visit – the first to Vietnam by a parliamentary leader of Bulgaria in 12 years and following his host’s visit to Bulgaria in September 2023.

Vietnam is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) while Bulgaria is a member of the European Union (EU). Given this, the enhancement of bilateral cooperation is of great importance, the Speaker said. He expressed his hope that the traditional friendship of two countries would develop in line with the spirit of the Vietnam - Bulgaria Joint Statement issued in 2013.

Both leaders voiced their pride in the achievements obtained since the diplomatic relations were established in 1950. Cooperation has been growing in all fields, including politics - diplomacy, economy - trade - investment, science - technology, education - training, defence - security, culture, sports, tourism, and locality-to-locality ties. Bilateral trade still topped 200 million USD in 2023 despite common difficulties facing global trade.

They agreed that the two sides will hold a meeting of the Inter-governmental Committee for economic, trade and scientific cooperation soon in 2024 so as to open up new cooperation areas and facilitate goods’ entry into each other’s markets under the EU - Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

Chairman Hue noted Vietnam has been exerting efforts to carry out the European Commission (EC)’s recommendations about sustainable fisheries. He called on Bulgaria to push the EC’s consideration of removing the “yellow card” warning against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing for Vietnam’s fisheries sector.

He particularly appreciated the Bulgarian NA’s ratification of the EU - Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA), emphasising that this deal will help Bulgarian businesses access the Vietnamese market of over 100 million people and reach the ASEAN market, home to a combined population of over 650 million.

He asked Bulgaria to accelerate the ratification by the remaining member parliaments of the EU so that the EVIPA can take effect at an early date.

Vietnam always keeps in mind Bulgaria’s precious and wholehearted assistance throughout history, the host leader said, appreciating the European country’s support in terms of personnel training.

Bulgaria should also create more favourable conditions in terms of granting visas for Vietnamese citizens, Hue recommended, asking the two sides to step up tourism promotion in each other’s countries.

Both host and guest welcomed partnerships between their countries’ localities, including Sofia with Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Varna and Da Nang, Ruse and Can Tho, Sumen and Thanh Hoa, Pleven and Son La, Veliko Tarnovo and Hue, and most recently Vinh Phuc and Pernik.

Speaker Jeliazkov agreed with Hue that the two countries need to sign a governmental-level agreement soon to create optimal conditions for businesses to carry out labour cooperation projects related to health care, construction, apparel, and agriculture in Bulgaria. The East European country is currently facing labour shortages. They also need to press on with fruitfully implementing the 2023 MoU on defence cooperation, including sharing experience in UN peacekeeping operations and helping Vietnam address unexploded ordnance consequences.

Chairman Hue highly valued the Bulgarian NA’s recent establishment of a parliamentary friendship group with Vietnam which will coordinate with the Vietnam - Bulgaria one to promote parliamentary ties.

Both leaders agreed that the two parliaments will continue to carry out the MoU on cooperation signed in September 2023 in a swift, active, and effective manner and in line with the spirit that parliamentary cooperation forms an important pillar of the countries’ relations. Besides, cooperation between the two parliamentary friendship groups will help the Vietnamese and Bulgarian NAs work together to supervise the implementation of bilateral plans and agreements from 2024.

Parliamentary leaders of Vietnam, Bulgaria hold talks strengthening cooperation
Parliamentary leaders of Vietnam, Bulgaria hold talks strengthening cooperation: Overview of the talks between Chairman of the Vietnamese NA Vuong Dinh Hue and Speaker of the Bulgarian NA Rosen Dimitrov Jeliazkov. (Photo: VNA)

The two sides will also maintain high-level mutual visits between NA leaders, agencies, and parliamentary friendship groups; increase sharing information and experience in parliamentary activities; coordinate in supervising and promoting the effective implementation of cooperation agreements between the two Governments; and maintain consultation, coordination, and mutual support at multilateral parliamentary forums as well as in regional and international issues of shared concern.

Speaker Jeliazkov held that the strategic agreements between Vietnam and the EU, including the EVIPA and the EVFTA, will help further expand partnerships between the two countries.

Vietnam highly values the EU’s common stance on the East Sea, Hue said, calling on Bulgaria to support ASEAN and Vietnam’s stance on this issue that matches international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS); on the ensuring of security, safety, and freedom of navigation and overflight; and on the maintenance of peace, stability, development cooperation in the regions and the world.

The leaders welcomed mutual support for each other’s candidacy for membership of the UN Human Rights Council – Bulgaria for the 2024 - 2026 tenure and Vietnam for 2023 - 2025.

Chairman Hue asked Bulgaria to advocate Vietnam’s candidacy for a seat at the Human Rights Council for 2026 - 2028, the UN Economic and Social Council for 2030 - 2032, and the UN Security Council for 2032 - 2033.

The two countries should foster cooperation within the frameworks of Vietnam’s relations with the EU such as the EU - Vietnam Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, the EVFTA, and the EVIPA, as well as within the Asia - Europe Meeting (ASEM).

As the ASEAN country coordinator in ASEM for 2023 - 2024, Vietnam will work with Bulgaria and other members to resume ASEM activities in the time ahead, he went on.

He also thanked Bulgaria for assisting the Vietnamese people there to surmount the pandemic and continue integrating into the local society. He suggested it continue providing favourable conditions for the community to make practical contributions to bilateral ties.

Both NA leaders voiced their belief that the traditional friendship and multifaceted cooperation between their countries will be unceasingly reinforced and develop strongly in the time to come, especially ahead of the 75th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations in 2025.

Following the talks, they witnessed the signing of a cooperation agreement between Lai Chau city of Vietnam’s Lai Chau province and Kazanlak city of Bulgaria.

After that, they joined in a press meeting to announce the outcomes of the talks.

General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Chinese Party leader Xi Jinping hold talks in Hanoi
Party Politburo member Truong Thi Mai, Chinese Party official hold talks
President Vo Van Thuong and Chinese President Xi Jinping hold talks in Hanoi
Prime Minister receives leaders of Japan-Vietnam Parliamentary Friendship Alliance
Deputy PM Le Minh Khai, Korean counterpart Choo Kyung-ho hold phone talks
(Source: WVR/ VNA)