Bulgaria and Vietnam – old friendship in a new multilateral world

March 03, 2018 | 09:48
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On March 3, the Republic of Bulgaria celebrates the 140th anniversary of its liberation. Chargé d’Affaires Marinela Petkova of Bulgarian Embassy to Vietnam sends a message to celebrate the friendship between the two countries.
bulgaria and vietnam old friendship in a new multilateral world
Lazarki, a traditional procession of Bulgaria, in which young girls decorate their hair richly and colourfully (usually with flower and ribbon wreaths) and dance around the village singing songs.

One of the oldest countries in Europe, founded in 681 AD, Bulgaria has endured difficult times and risen to establish itself as an active and trustworthy actor on the international scene – living in peace with its neighbours.

This was Bulgaria’s stance when it assumed on January 1, 2018, its first ever Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Using the opportunity at hand to use its term at the helm of the EU to accelerate joint efforts in certain areas of importance, Bulgaria has put forward as a key priority the need to provide tangible European perspective for its neighbouring countries of the Western Balkans, and to ensure comprehensive regional connectivity.

For Bulgaria, to lend a hand to all the Western Balkans countries on their European path, based on their fulfilment of the criteria and their merit, aspires to maintain sustainable peace and security throughout Europe.

The other three main priority areas of the Presidency include the future of Europe and its young people to be realised through economic growth and cohesive policies, digital economy and skills needed for the future and security and stability for a stronger Europe, including more effective management of migration policies.

We strive to fulfil the above by forging consensus and finding common solutions, as the slogan of the Bulgarian Presidency ‘United we stand strong’ goes back not only to the history of our own statehood but reminds us of the strength that comes from unity and solidarity.

Parallel to Bulgaria’s aspirations within the EU are Vietnam’s and ASEAN member states’ efforts to build a prosperous regional community through consensus and balance.

Vietnam's impressive rate of social and economic growth and its constructive foreign policy position the country as a valuable international partner with increased regional significance – with hosting APEC 2017 the latest attestation to that.

The constructive engagement of Bulgaria and Vietnam in the multilateral fora offers further avenues for co-operation, grounded in the frameworks of the enhanced partnership between the European Union and ASEAN and within the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), with focus on connectivity projects, economic development and trade, people-to-people contacts and ties in education and research.

The Bulgarian Presidency of Council of the European Union will aim to contribute to the efforts of the EU in strengthening ties with partners in Asia, including through widening the scope of free trade deals and partnership agreements, as well as addressing common security, reconstruction and development challenges.

Bulgaria places a strong emphasis on further utilising the existing formats for greater Europe-Asia co-operation. For Southeast Asia this would mean a reinforced EU-ASEAN Dialogue and a strengthened and value-added ASEM process.

There is particular interest to take ASEM co-operation further, as it offers concrete opportunities for flexible, equal footing, across the board. It is important to build upon the good practices within the ASEM areas of tangible co-operation like innovation, youth, connectivity, identifying projects that meet the sustainability criteria and moving forward on issues such as digital trade and e-commerce.

Given the importance Bulgaria attaches to the ASEM process we are hosts of two high level meetings within the ASEM platform – the 8th ASEM Culture Ministers’ Meeting on March 1-2 and the 13th ASEM Finance Ministers’ Meeting on April 26.

As we mark the National Day of Bulgaria here in Việt Nam, we proudly celebrate 68 years of diplomatic relations and friendship between its peoples. Nowadays, the Bulgarian Embassy in Hà Nội is a constant witness of the resilience of this relationship. It comes from many of the thousands of young Vietnamese who lived and studied in Bulgaria and who have ever since referred to Bulgaria as their second homeland. The vibrant Việt Nam-Bulgaria Friendship associations in the cities of Hà Nội, HCM City and Hải Phòng are the core of this community.

Today Bulgaria and Vietnam exchange regular visits at the highest political levels. Their national assemblies collaborate through the established Groups of Friendship. Economic co-operation has been guided through the yearly meetings of the Joint Economic Commission. The ties between the local authorities have been strengthened by direct city-twinning agreements.

Striving to secure rich bilateral ties Bulgaria and Vietnam have the potential to carry on the relationship into an outward-looking, advanced, multifaceted and multilateral co-operation for the benefit of our both peoples, with the conviction that in the modern world, official relations between states must be surpassed by creating one prosperous community of friends.


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