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Brussels, 23 April 2009

European Neighbourhood Policy – JORDAN

Benita Ferrero-Waldner, External Relations and Neighbourhood Policy Commissioner, said: “Since the launch of our Neighbourhood Policy, Jordan and the EU have been working together actively and constructively towards implementation of the Action Plan. We will continue to support Jordan in its reform efforts. Jodan's progress towards an improved business environment and better public finance management are bearing fruit, especially in the current economic downturn. I encourage Jordan to make similar progress in good governance and create the conditions that will enable the civil society to support the government in its efforts.”

EU–Jordan relations: basic facts

The EU-Jordan Association Agreement entered into force in 2002 and aims at the development of close political relations and the creation of a free trade area over 12 years. The ENP Action Plan, adopted in June 2005, supports Jordan’s national reform process, articulated in the ten-year National Agenda and the initiative “We are all Jordan”.

Institutional cooperation through the EU–Jordan Association Council, the EU–Jordan Association committee and the sub-committees enabled to make progress with and monitor the implementation of the Association Agreement and the Action Plan.

In November 2008 Jordan submitted a proposal on upgrading of relations with the EU, in which it expressed the desire to come to an intensification of the political exchanges on a wide range of common political and security challenges.

Major developments in 2008 and overall assessment

Jordan is an active and constructive partner in the ENP. Overall, Jordan made steady progress in the economic field and limited progress as regards democracy and social policies.

Progress was made in the fight against corruption with the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Commission in January 2008 and the adoption of an Anti-Corruption Strategy for 2008-2012. Progress was also made on transparency and accountability with the appointment of the first Ombudsman in June 2008 and continued capacity building of the judiciary.

In the report the Commission encourages Jordan to continue working towards greater independence of the judiciary and more freedom of association and expression.

The Jordanian authorities took a significant measure to protect women from violence with the adoption in February 2008 of the Family Protection Law. Though the law fails to explicitly criminalise domestic violence, family members in need of protection can obtain a protection injunction.

In the areas of social inclusion and social protection, Jordan developed a social safety net and a comprehensive Poverty Reduction Strategy was endorsed by Cabinet in November 2008. In March 2008 Jordan adopted the Development Areas Law to encourage the growth of targeted development areas in less urbanised regions.

A revised Labour Law was adopted in July 2008 but further steps are needed to protect migrant, domestic and agricultural workers and to establish a social dialogue.

After the signing of a civil aviation horizontal agreement in February 2008, the negotiations on a Euro Mediterranean aviation agreement were launched.

Good progress was made in improving the business environment and in increasing competition in privatized sectors such as telecom and energy. The required capital for establishing a company was reduced in 2008. In financial sector reforms the Basel II principles for effective banking supervision are applied from January 2008.

A science and technology agreement between the EC and Jordan was initialed in January 2009. Though the success rate of Jordanian researchers in the 7th research framework programmes remains comparatively high, the agreement will aim further improvement in this area.

The report paints a positive picture of Jordan’s reform efforts in the economic field, with strong GDP growth of around 5.5%, abolition of subsidies, improved tax collection and improvements in public finance management. The EU encourages Jordan to continue its tight macro-economic policies and efforts for export diversification.

Jordan's trade with the EU increased in 2008 (exports by 10.2% and imports by 21.3% compared with 2007). Tariff dismantling continued smoothly in accordance with the EU-Jordan Association Agreement.

The EU is supporting reforms in Jordan by:

  • Facilitating the reduction of the budget deficit by increasing revenues and better managing expenditure. With the EC support to fiscal reform, the fight against tax evasion and the reform of the tax administration led to an increase of revenues.
  • Helping to achieve universal and equal education, especially in underprivileged areas, through the provision of budgetary support for the reform of the education sector. With the EC assistance, Jordan is providing early childhood education in rural areas and supporting economically disadvantaged families
  • Promoting gender equality, democratisation and protection of human rights by strengthening the role of civil society organizations. The Commission is helping the government to consult civil society more effectively and provides direct support to organisations that promote women’s participation in political and economic life, labour rights and awareness raising on human rights.
  • Helping to develop trade between the EU and Jordan by facilitating convergence with EU standards e.g. on industrial goods, to improve access of these products to the EU market and by supporting the modernisation of the services sector, as well as providing support to improve the competitiveness of Jordanian companies and their performance in accessing export markets.
  • Strengthening Jordan's energy policy with a view to the progressive integration of the Jordanian energy market into that of the EU, and consolidate the policy of sustainable development in the Jordanian energy sector.
  • Supporting Jordan in its efforts to enhance the capacity and efficiency of the judiciary through continued support Jordan’s the judicial reform process JUST.
  • Improving food safety through harmonisation of sanitary and phyto-sanitary rules with EU standards.
  • Providing opportunities to both Jordanian students and faculty members to benefit from academic co-operation and partnerships with EU universities or scholarships.

Assistance to Jordan

In 2008, the EC programmed assistance for a total amount of €65 million under the European Neighbourhood Policy Instrument (ENPI), targeted at three priority areas: support to trade and investment development, through the allocation of €48 million; support to the reform of criminal justice, the anti-corruption institutions and fight against radicalization through a €7 million programme; and support to institution building through the allocation of €10 million.

This support was a part of an indicative amount of €265 million, which has been allocated for the period 2007-10 under the ENPI.

An additional amount of €12 million was mobilized through the Development Co-operation Instrument to improve water distribution in the Zarqa area, where a large number of Iraqi refugees live.

The Communication from the Commission to the Parliament and the Council Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2008 (23 April 2009) and a country report on Jordan are available at

More on Jordan and ENP

See also IP/09/625 EU reinforces ties with its neighbours and continues to support their reforms.

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