The view was shared by Antonio Tajani, Vice President of the European Commission, Marta Dassu, Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Italy, and Elisabetta Belloni, Director General for Development Cooperation of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, during meetings with Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son.
Son was attending the ASEAN Awareness Forum in Italy on March 22-23.
Tagiani said he is interested in the Asian markets, especially Vietnam, and confirmed that he will try to promote trade and investment cooperation between the EU and Vietnam, as well as bilateral partnership to a new level.
He revealed that he will lead a delegation of between 30-50 companies from EU member countries to Vietnam to sound out investment and cooperation opportunities.
At another reception, Deputy FM Son and his Italian counterpart Marta Dassu discussed measures to strengthen Vietnam-Italy relations in the lead up to the 40 th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties.
Dassu stressed that Italy considers Vietnam a key partner in Asia, and it wants to increase all-round cooperation, particularly in economics, with the Southeast Asian nation.
She asserted that Italy will be a trusted and responsible partner of Vietnam in development cooperation.
The diplomat suggested that both sides increase the exchange of delegations in 2012-13 aiming to raise bilateral trade to US$3 billion, while creating conditions for their business communities to establish partnerships in various forms, including the public-private partnership (PPP) model.
She said major cooperation areas will be focused on transport infrastructure, water supply, power plant construction, health care, and the environment.
Dassu invited Vietnam to take part in an international exposition in Milan in 2015 which is scheduled to bring together giants from Italy and other countries to showcase the latest technology in food processing, clean and renewable energy.
Meanwhile, Elisabetta Belloni told Son that Italy will speed up cooperation projects with Vietnam, primarily those on health care and energy.
According to Son, despite economic difficulty, Italy includes Vietnam in its priority list of official development assistance (ODA) recipients, offering preferential loans to human resource development and infrastructure construction projects.
Currently, both countries are carrying out the roadshow program to connect their business links.
Son proposed that Italy include Vietnam in its non-refundable aid recipient program to help the latter develop education and training of human resources.
He also proposed that Italy receive Vietnamese students, expand training cooperation between their institutions, and support the building of an advanced scientific and technological research centre.
Both sides agreed to work on plans to lift bilateral relations to a new level in the near future.
Deputy FM Son left Italy on March 24 for Greece to inaugurate the Vietnamese Embassy headquarters slated for March 26.