>> Government to embrace new poverty reduction strategy The European Union Delegation to Vietnam has disbursed a total of EUR29 million (USD41 million) in grants to support poverty reduction in the country. EU Chargé d’Affaires, Mr. Emmanuel Mersch, said the most recent disbursement was to support two separate development programmes in Vietnam. The joint-donor Poverty Reduction Support Credit (PRSC) mechanism supports the implementation of Vietnam’s Socio Economic Development Plan (SEDP 2006-2010). While the second, Programme 135 phase II (2006-2010), supports socio-economic development of communes and villages in mountainous and ethnic minority areas. Of the total, EUR17 million has gone to the final instalment of the European Poverty Reduction Support Programme (EPRSP). The EUR44 million grant agreement programme was signed in 2009. The remaining EUR12 million was granted to a programme to alleviate hardship among ethnic minorities, signed between the EU and the Vietnamese government in October 2010. Emmanuel Mersch, stated “The disbursement of EUR 29 million is a clear indication of the EU’s intention to continue supporting the government’s reform strategy and poverty-reduction agenda, particularly at a time where Vietnam is facing significant macro-economic challenges which affect the poorest members of society the hardest.” The EU Delegation is planning an additional EUR150 million (USD212 million) grant for poverty reduction and the health sector by 2013. However such support would only be possible if public financial management modernisation is pursued and a stable macro-economic environment is maintained, he added.