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European Commission - Press release

First meeting of EU-Jordan Task Force to support the ongoing reforms in Jordan

Brussels, 21 February 2012 - The first meeting of the EU-Jordan Task Force will take place at the King Hussein Centre at the Dead Sea in Jordan on 22 February. The Task Force will demonstrate the EU´s determination to accompany Jordan on its process of democratic reforms towards a just and inclusive society with democratic rights, social justice and economic opportunity as key features. It will be co-chaired by Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, and Jordanian Prime Minister Awn Khasawneh. Bernardino León, the EU Special Representative for the Southern Mediterranean Region, will also participate.

"Jordan is committed to pursuing a sustained pace of reforms which are vital for the consolidation of the institutions, deepening democracy and the rule of law. 2012 will be crucial to consolidate ambitious reforms. The EU is committed to accompanying Jordan on its historic journey. Even in a challenging economic context the EU will ensure effective and substantial economic support to back the ambitious Jordanian political reform programme. The Task Force meeting will deepen our strong relationship and will act as a catalyst to ensure effective coordination by the EU and its Member States, as well as other European and international bodies," said Catherine Ashton ahead of the meeting.

The EU-Jordan Task Force is the second task force in the Southern Mediterranean since the Arab Spring began, with the first held in Tunis in September 2011. It was set up to help address the challenges Jordan is facing in its political and economic reform process. It also aims to coordinate more efficiently the support of the EU, of its Member States and a number of European and international bodies, with a particular focus on short- and mid-term policies and initiatives adopted by the Jordanian government.

The Task Force meeting on 22 February will open with introductory remarks by the two co-chairs, to be followed by a morning debate focused on political reforms and enhanced governance and an afternoon debate that will look at economic reforms, development and employments issues. Jordanian government officials and EU senior officials as well as representatives of Member States, business leaders and representatives of international financial institutions will join the debate. Additional initiatives of support are due to be announced.

The meeting of Task Force will be preceded on 21 February by special sessions with civil society, political parties and business representatives. Key Jordanian representatives will be joined in by European partners, including European Political Foundations, to foster dialogue and programmes on political culture and leadership to support political party development and the building of Jordanian citizenry. The Task Force will be debriefed on their findings.

Background

Jordan is a key player and interlocutor for the EU in the Middle East. Over the years, Jordan and the EU have consolidated their close partnership, in particular in the framework of the Neighbourhood Policy and of the Union for the Mediterranean. In October 2010, the relationship reached a new level through the “advanced status” partnership and the finalisation of the new EU-Jordan ENP Action Plan which unlock new opportunities for the development of our relations. This year, Jordan and the EU also celebrate the tenth anniversary of the entering into force of the Association Agreement.

Moreover, the preparatory process for the future negotiations for a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) with Jordan will be launched in early 2012. In 2012 Jordan became a member of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) as part of the process of becoming a recipient of EBRD investments.

For further information:

The EU and Jordan: long-standing relationship

MEMO/12/124

Contacts :

Michael Mann (+32 2 299 97 80)

Maja Kocijancic (+32 2 298 65 70)

Sebastien Brabant (+32 2 298 64 33)


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