[HANOI] The European Union (EU) has granted Vietnam two non-refundable aid packages worth 514 million euro (US$633 million) to strengthen its energy and health sectors and boost governance and its legal system, the EU said on Thursday.
Official development assistance is one of Vietnam's major funding sources for infrastructure and socio-economic development. Disbursement of such funds in the first nine months of 2014 rose 10 per cent from a year ago to US$4.1 billion, according to Vietnamese government data.
The EU will grant 400 million euro to Vietnam to develop its sustainable energy sector and promote democracy while strengthening the communist country's legal and judicial systems up to 2020, it said in a statement.
The 28-member union will also support reform in Vietnam's health sector with three-year aid worth 114 million euro, starting next year, it said.
Vietnam expects to sign a free trade agreement with the EU in early 2015, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said on Tuesday.
The EU is Vietnam's second-biggest trade partner. Their trade was worth 24.2 billion euro (US$30.16 billion) last year.