EU Relations with Jordan
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The EU supports Jordan's moderate and stabilizing role in the region, paving the way for further political and economic integration and liberalization.
Since 2004 as part of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), Jordan was invited to enter into strong political, security, economic and cultural relations, and share responsibility in conflict prevention and resolution.
Jordan is a partner country within the ENP. A joint ENP Action Plan, endorsed by the EU-Jordan Association Council, sets political framework for the dialogue between EU and Jordan. The Action Plan outlines a set of priorities that support Jordan's National Agenda and focuses on political dialogue and reform, trade, social issues and assisting Jordan to gradually hold a substantial stake in the EU's Internal Market. Jordan is also a member of the Union for the Mediterranean.
In October 2010, Jordan and the EU reached an agreement on a new EU-Jordan ENP Action Plan. The document gives concrete substance to the “advanced status” relationship between Jordan and the EU. "Advanced status" partnership means closer cooperation in a large number of areas, and specific commitments on both sides. The new Action Plan succeeds the one of 2005 and spells the EU – Jordan agenda for the next five years.
Within the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), Jordan is the first Mediterranean partner country with whom the EU has concluded technical negotiations leading to an "Advanced Status".
The EU and Jordan further enhanced their cooperation in 2012. Jordan has taken steps towards reform and is therefore included in the renewed EU policy with Southern countries. In February, the EU/Jordan Task Force was convened at the Dead Sea, co-chaired by HRVP Ashton and Jordan's then Prime Minister Awn Khasawneh. The meeting ended with an agreement to provide Jordan with 2.7 billion Euros in assistance and loans from various partners. Closer cooperation in the trade and business sectors was also discussed
Enhancing EU – Jordan relations is in EU's and Jordan's mutual interest and benefit. Jordan benefits from the European Neighbourhood Policy in particular in the priority areas of economic development, energy, tackling poverty and unemployment, trade, security, empowerment of youth and women, good governance and human rights - areas which Jordan and the EU have agreed to focus on. The EU and Jordan share common values and have common interests, including through promoting of peace, stability and socio-economic development.
Since 2007 the EU's financial assistance to Jordan has mainly been provided under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), the main financial mechanism on bilateral and regional basis which, since January 2014, has been replaced by the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI). The first multi-annual strategic framework for the EU cooperation with Jordan was established in the EU-Jordan Country Strategy Paper, covering the period from 2007-2013. Priorities for EU-Jordan cooperation were defined under two "National Indicative Programmes" for the periods 2007-2010 and 2011-2013.
A total of €488 million were initially allocated to the period 2007-2013. In order to support implementation of key political and socio-economic reforms in a challenging macro-economic context, the EU made available an additional amount of €91 million over the period 2012-2013, through the SPRING (Support for Partnership, Reform and Inclusive Growth) – focusing mainly on good governance, economic and inclusive growth – and also decided in 2014 to provide a Macro Financial Assistance package of €180 million.
For the period 2014-2020 the financial allocation under the ENI will vary between €587 million and €693 million depending on the progress made on democratic and socio economic reforms by Jordan. This period was divided in two periods with the first period covering 2014-2017 with a financial assistance that can go up to €382 million. The support for the first period will focus on three focal areas: (i) reinforcing the rule of law for enhanced accountability and equity in public service delivery; (ii) employment and private sector development; and (iii) renewable energies and energy efficiency.
In addition to the programmed bilateral allocations, Jordan is eligible under a wide range of EU thematic instruments such as the Neighbourhood regional programmes, the Partnership Instrument and the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights. Jordan also benefits from external actions under several EU internal programmes, as for example the Erasmus+ programme, which enhances mobility and cooperation with the EU in the field of higher education, and the EU research programme Horizon 2020.
The EU is also supporting Jordan to handle the impact of the Syrian crisis. The EU has provided so far more than €320 million since 2011 in humanitarian, crisis response and development support to this aim.
The EU is Jordan's primary commercial partner in terms of total trade volume. It is also the major source of imports to Jordan.
In the year 2000, the EU welcomed Jordan's membership in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the integral reforms Jordan undertook to bring its economic policies and trade regime into compliance with WTO agreements, especially in terms of liberating its service sector, providing market access to foreign investors and reducing customs tariffs to reach 20% in 2010 on all but a limited number of goods.
The EU's ultimate objective through the Association Agreement was to foster the establishment of bilateral free trade with Jordan – the first step towards creating a wider regional Euro-Mediterranean free trade area. The agreement laid the foundation for reciprocal tariff liberalisation of trade in industry and agriculture.
Moreover, Jordan is one of four countries to sign the Agadir Agreement, paving the way for stronger economic cooperation between Jordan and neighbouring countries with the ultimate goal of creating an Arab free trade area.
The “advanced status” partnership further expanded the areas of cooperation between Jordan and the EU. It opens up new opportunities in economic and trade relations via a progressive liberalisation in services, the right of establishment and regulatory convergence. It also aims to facilitate market access, and prepare future trade negotiations. The plan also provides for a reinforced cooperation with certain European agencies and programmes.
In addition to political dialogue and economic cooperation, the EU-Jordan Association Agreement, which forms the basis of bilateral relations, focuses on trade liberalisation and the economic integration of Jordan into the European market.
The EU is one of Jordan's biggest trading partners. It is Jordan's main source of imports, ahead of Saudi Arabia and China, with EU imports to Jordan totalling €2.6 billion in 2008. The EU is the 7th main export destination for Jordanian products. The EU-Jordan Association Agreement provides for gradual trade liberalisation and will progressively establish a free trade area between the EU and Jordan.
The EU supports Jordan's efforts in addressing social, economic and institutional challenges, and works alongside government institutions to enhance Jordan's modernisation and development process in order to enable Jordan to expand to an all-encompassing free trade area by 2014.
Mediterranean countries in the Euro-Mediterranean partnership have concluded Association Agreements with the EU. Parties to these agreements enjoy duty-free access to the EU market for manufactured goods and preferential treatment for exports of agriculture, processed agriculture and fisheries products. Tariffs are in the process of being dismantled for EU exports to the region.
The EU also focuses on trade liberalization and economic integration of Mediterranean countries into the European market. It makes significant efforts to bring its Mediterranean partners' regulatory procedures closer to the EU's.
Moreover, the EU aims to promote regional economic integration between the different Mediterranean countries– an integral step towards establishing a Mediterranean free trade area.
The European Union is the world’s largest provider of financing for humanitarian aid operations. Altogether, the European Commission in Brussels and the governments of the 27 Member States pay for more than 50% of the assistance that comes from official channels. The European Commission itself is responsible for managing almost half of this aid. In 2009, the Commission provided more than €931 million for humanitarian projects in more than 60 countries, funding relief to millions of victims of disasters or conflict s outside the European Union.
Since 2003 Jordan is hosting a large population of Iraqi refugees. Through its Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO) the European Commission has been contributing to meeting basic needs of the most vulnerable of the refugees. Funds have been provided in the last years for basic medical care, food distribution, basic household items, and psychosocial support and protection issues.
Aid is channelled impartially to the affected populations, regardless of their race, ethnic group, religion, gender, age, nationality or political affiliation, through operational partners. Worldwide the partners include around 200 European NGOs, United Nations agencies and the Red Cross ‘family’. In Jordan ECHO operates with Terre des Hommes, Care and the UNHCR
Please visit our web site for more information on aid to Palestinian refugees.
The EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis, the ‘Madad Fund’, was established in December 2014 to enable a more coherent and integrated EU response to the crisis. It primarily addresses longer term resilience and early recovery needs (economic, educational, social and psycho-social) of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, and supports overstretched host communities and their administrations.
To date, the fund has reached a total of €932 million, two years after its inception. Out of this €815,2 million stem from the EU budget, €92,6 million from 22 EU Member States and € 24,6 million from Turkey. Projects totaling €767 million have been adopted and € 358 million have been signed in contracts supporting primary and higher education, psycho-social care, resilience and livelihood initiatives, health, water and sanitary needs as well as the construction of schools.