“The Government would like to develop a special relationship between Hungary and Vietnam”, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Monday in Hanoi at the joint press conference held following his negotiations with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc.

“Hungary has chosen Vietnam as its strategic partner in the region because diplomatic cooperation between the two countries has been good for some time, in addition to which there are some three thousand Vietnamese citizens who completed their university studies in Hungary, and there is a colony of several thousand respectable and hard-working Vietnamese families living in Hungary”, Mr. Orbán declared. He also highlighted the fact that according to strategic analysts, during the next thirty years Vietnam will be one of the world’s most rapidly developing countries.

Photo: Balázs Szecsődi

The Prime Minister pinpointed four areas in which Hungary could provide important assistance to Vietnam, including the healthcare industry, water management and the water industry, IT and agriculture, and particularly food safety. An agreement has been reached on the fact that Hungary will be constructing a hospital in Vietnam, he specifically highlighted.

Mr. Orbán told reporters that Hungary will be providing 200 scholarship places for Vietnamese students to attend Hungarian universities, instead of the current number of 100, and that this “assures” the future of relations between the two countries.

The political-business delegation led by the Prime Minister has come to Hanoi to express Hungary’s respect towards Vietnam and its acknowledgement of its economic development, he told the press, in addition to which he also set as his goal the opening of a new chapter in relations between the two countries. In closing, he invited his Vietnamese counterpart to make an official visit to Budapest.

In his press statement, Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyễn Xuân Phúc spoke about the fact that his country is highly appreciative of Hungarian-Vietnamese relations. He categorised the latest negotiations as successful and pointed out that the friendship between the two countries goes back many decades, adding that at Monday’s meeting the two Prime Ministers had determined the strategic areas for the development of bilateral relations, including information technology, water management, environmental protection and cooperation in agriculture.

Photo: Balázs Szecsődi

Nguyễn Xuân Phúc thanked Hungary for having created favourable conditions for the integration of the Vietnamese colony living there into Hungarian society.

Following the press statements, the Hungarian and Vietnamese party concluded several bilateral agreements in the presence of the two Prime Ministers.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó signed a framework agreement on a new and comprehensive tied aid agreement, with relation to which the Minister told Hungarian reporters that two tied aid programmes had already been successfully organised between Hungary and Vietnam, which were related to the construction of a water treatment plant and the introduction of a provincial population registration system.

“Based on this previous success, we have launched a tied aid programme within the field of healthcare, within the framework of which Hungary will be constructing a 500-ben oncological hospital in the city of Cần Thơ at a cost of 60 million euros”, he told the press, adding that Hungary’s Eximbank signed the related financing agreement on Monday. “In view of Vietnam’s economic expansion and demands, and Hungary’s sectors of industry that are also competitive at international level, we have come to the decision Hungary will be launching its largest and most comprehensive tied aid programme to date, with a budget of 440 million euros”, Mr. Szijjártó announced.

“As part of the programme, we have so far agreed on the realisation of 11 Vietnamese projects, of which five are water management projects including the modernisation and construction of a water treatment plant, a hydroelectric plant and new city sewage and water networks, and four are healthcare projects including the construction of three general hospitals and a obstetrics and gynaecology hospital. Of the remaining two projects, one concerns the establishment of a system to measure radiation levels, and the other relates to the introduction of electronic identity cards”, he detailed. “These projects are providing Hungarian enterprises with major market opportunities”, the Hungarian Foreign Minister said.

Photo: Balázs Szecsődi

Several other inter-ministerial agreements were concluded in addition to the tied aid agreement. Minister for National Economy Mihály Varga concluded a financial agreement and a cooperation agreement on vocational training, Minister of Agriculture Sándor Fazekas signed an inter-ministerial agreement on agriculture and Minister of National Development Miklós Seszták concluded an agreement relating to information technology.

Minister of State Katalin Novák from the Ministry of Human Capacities signed an amendment to the working schedule on education and a new inter-ministerial working plan with relation to culture. In addition, Cần Thơ and the Hungarian city of Kaposvár concluded twin cities agreement, which was signed on behalf of the Hungarian party by Mayor of Kaposvár Károly Szita.

On Monday morning, Prime Minister Orbán laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Vietnamese capital, after which he was received with full military honours at the Presidential palace.

The Prime Minister’s programme will continue with a Hungarian-Vietnamese business forum, followed by meetings with the President of Vietnam and the Speaker of Parliament.