Determining criteria for members of Viet Nam’s abroad representative agencies
This was the content of most concerns at the meeting of the Appraisal Committee of the Law amending and supplementing a number of articles of the Law on Abroad Representative Agencies of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, which was held on the 20th April and chaired by Deputy Minister of Justice Nguyen Khanh Ngoc.
Specific regulations on criteria for an Ambassador
In order to legislate criteria to be able to select qualified, charismatic and experienced diplomatic officials, the draft Law proposes to revise and supplement Article 17 on Criteria for members of representative agencies. Accordingly, it shall supplement regulation on criteria for appointment of the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, supporting the process of examination and consideration for approval. The suggested criteria are based on the Ambassadorial criteria prescribed in the Ordinance on Diplomatic titles and ranks and Decree No. 13-CP; and referred to regulations on criteria applicable to other similar titles, management and leadership titles of the State administrative agencies, according to requirements of the position. In addition, according to Decision No. 965/QD-BNG dated on 8/4/2011 of the Minister of Foreign Affairs on criteria for members of representative agencies, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary is also required to meet common criteria of a diplomatic official such as: having strong political stance, good moral qualities, sense of disciplines; thoroughly understanding and complying with regulations on security works, etc. The draft Law emphasizes on particular criteria of capacity to advise, organize and direct implementation of policies, guidelines and foreign policies; having working and management professionals, skills and experience in the foreign areas; having advanced political theoretical qualification and advanced State administration management certificate; and fluency in one foreign language that meets the working requirements.
According to Former Deputy Minister Hoang The Lien, regulations on political stance and moral qualities were too general, leading to a possibility of arbitrary and biased application. He proposed to specifically determine criteria for members of representative agencies in strategic areas and other areas as each country had its own features.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade (MOIT) Tran Quoc Khanh stated that, criteria for appointment of members of representative agencies should not meet regulations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) as such regulations should not be applicable to officials of other Ministries. For instance, for appointment of a counselor in one area, the MOFA only requires the candidate to be a civil servant, but the MOIT requires the candidate to be leader of a department. This difference may lead to wrong application and implementation.
Sharing the same opinion with the MOIT, representative of the Ministry of National Defense said that, if the Ministry of National Defense already adopted a decision on appointment, then the MOFA adopted another decision, this shall be interpreted as the MOFA appraises the Ministry of National Defense’s decision. Therefore, it was recommended to specify criteria of members of representative agencies under the light of direct application once it is included into the Law.
Within the age framework to be able to complete a term of 3 years
In terms of the age, the common principle is that the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary should be of sufficient age to complete an office term of 3 years before his/her retirement age. In case where his/her remaining work time is less than 3 years, the Minister of Foreign Affairs shall recommend competent agencies to review and decide whether to take advantage of his/her contribution as an experienced and charismatic officials, mainly in areas where are Viet Nam’s strategic partners and key neighboring countries.
Sharing the same opinion, representative of the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) proposed to specify more specific criteria, conditions in terms of capacity, qualifications, experience, etc. for this special case (i.e. where the remaining office time is less than time needed to complete one office term) in order to ensure fair, public, transparent and consistent implementation afterwards. However, representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs expressed their concerns about inconsistency with the legal framework if the Law prescribes a higher age of retirement for this position. Deputy Minister of Justice Nguyen Khanh Ngoc shared the same opinion and suggested to comply with legal regulations prescribed in Clause 3 Article 187 of the Labor Code and Decree No. 53/2015/ND-CP dated 29/5/2015 of the Government on the higher age of retirement for officials, civil servants in order to avoid any potential conflict and separation with the current laws.