EU bolsters its support to reformers in its Southern and Eastern neighbourhoods (20/05/2012)

(Amman, 20 May, 2012) EU Ambassador Joanna Wronecka held a press conference to mark the launch of the annual “neighbourhood package which took place on 15 May 2012.

The European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy published on 15 May 2012 the annual “neighbourhood package”, consisting of: a joint communication (“Delivering on the new European Neighbourhood Policy”) making an assessment of the first year of implementation of the new ENP adopted in 2011; a separate joint communication proposing an “Eastern Partnership Roadmap”; a report on the “Partnership for Democracy and Shared prosperity” with Southern Mediterranean (including a roadmap for future action);  an Eastern Partnership progress report; 12 country reports (on developments in 2011 and with a set of recommendations for the future), including one on Jordan, and a statistical annex.

In May 2011, in the midst of changes sweeping the Southern Neighbourhood, the EU completed a major review of its European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). According to a policy of “more for more”, committed reformers in the EU’s Southern and Eastern neighbourhood would be awarded greater and broader EU support. 

The ENP package presented on 15 May, by Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Commission Vice-President and Štefan Füle, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, assesses the first year of implementation of the new approach. It also proposes a roadmap for giving further impetus to the implementation of the Eastern Partnership.

Over the last twelve months, the EU has responded with determination to a fast - changing situation in its neighbourhood. The EU re-oriented assistance programmes and made EUR 1 billion more available in 2011-2013 to be channelled through new innovative programmes - SPRING for the Southern Neighbourhood and EaPIC for the Eastern Neighbourhood. It increased the lending ceilings of the European Investment Bank by EUR 1.15 billion, and successfully proposed the extension of the mandate of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to the EU’s southern neighbours.

Applying the reform-rewarding logic of “more for more”, the EU has supported those partners embarking on political reforms. The joint EU/Jordan Task force which took place in February, resulted in an additional 70 million Euros in assistance. In Tunisia the EU has doubled its financial assistance from EUR 80 million to EUR 160 million in 2011. In Jordan, the EU/Jordan Task force ended with 70 million Euros in additional aid under the SPRING PROGRAMME. The EU has also been quick to curtail relations with countries grossly violating human rights, and impose wide ranging sanctions against those regimes, instead channelling its support towards civil society and affected populations.

A Civil Society Facility covering all ENP countries was launched in September with an initial budget of EUR 26 million for 2011 and similar additional amounts planned for 2012 and 2013.

Upon finalisation of the assessment, High Representative Catherine Ashton declared: “Last year, we re-launched our Neighbourhood Policy to reflect the historic changes going on around us. We now see the first results of this review, which sought to intensify assistance to those who went further in democratic and economic reforms. We have seen great progress in some countries. In others, we need to encourage the political leadership to take bold steps down the path to reform. I have always said that we will be judged on our work with our immediate neighbours, and I am convinced that we are moving in the right direction. We will continue to help our partners in their efforts to embed fundamental values and reinforce the economic reforms which are necessary to create what I call ‘deep democracy’.”

Štefan Füle added “While we should not indulge in self-congratulation and we should always make a reality check about the effectiveness of our policy, we have set the new policy on solid grounds and have developed many initiatives that I am confident are already bearing fruit”.

ENP Country Progress Report 2011- Jordan

One of the 12 country reports, the ENP Country Progress Report 2011 for Jordan describes the progress achieved in implementing the ENP Action Plan during that year. It also puts forward a set of recommendations for the future.

Overall, the EU partnership with Jordan developed positively throughout 2011.  2011 was a politically and economically challenging year for Jordan, yet was able to achieve some encouraging steps on the implementation of the ENP Action Plan. In Political dialogue and reform, important steps were made through the creation of the National Dialogue Committee and the Royal Committee on Constitutional Review. Concerning the freedom of the press, however, journalists and online media were confronted with security agencies notably when reporting on demonstrations. Onث positive development in the labour area was the substantial package of measures which was drawn up to strengthen social rights, provide decent working conditions and ensure that labour standards comply with International Labour Organisation commitments. In trade related issues: Total trade with the EU amounted to approximately EUR 3.5 billion in 2011. The EU was Jordan's first source of imports (20.1%) and the seventh destination of exports (3.7%). In February 2011 Jordan agreed with the EU on the scope of future negotiations on trade in services and establishment. These negotiations will be embedded in the framework of the DCFTA negotiation. In July 2011, Jordan signed the regional Convention on pan-Euro-Mediterranean preferential rules of origin. 

The report also puts forward a set of recommendations to the Government of Jordan regarding the implementation of the action plan for the coming year. These cover issues including political reform, anti-corruption efforts, women's rights, freedom of the press, strengthening the judiciary and the use of renewable energy sources among others.

EU Ambassador to Jordan said: "We are proud of our relationship with Jordan. The EU sees Jordan as a strong partner with whom we agree on many issues. Jordan is sailing successfully through these difficult times. We are witnessing a process of political, social and economic reforms and we look forward to accompany our dear Jordanian friends on their way. A strong, democratic Jordan is not only an asset for its people, but also to its European neighbours and friends and to the world."

Contact: European Union Delegation to Jordan,
 Lina Abu Nuwar, Press and Information  Officer,
 Lina.abu-nuwar@eeas.europa.eu,
 (06)4607000, ext. 108