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Brussels, 21 Feb. 12

The EU and Jordan: long-standing relationship

Jordan is a key player and interlocutor for the EU in the Middle East.

The relations between the EU and Jordan go back to 1977, when the first cooperation agreement was signed between the two parties. Over the years, Jordan and the EU have consolidated their close partnership, in particular in the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and of the Union for the Mediterranean. 

The current legal basis for the EU-Jordan relations is the Association Agreement which entered into force ten years ago (in May 2002). In October 2010, the relationship reached a new level through the “advanced status” partnership and the finalization of the new EU-Jordan ENP Action Plan which unlocked new opportunities for the development of our relations. 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.

Bilateral European Union Support

The EU is one of the largest grant donors to Jordan, which is a recipient of international community assistance through grants as well as loans.

For the period 2011-2013, €223 million have been made available for new support initiatives to Jordan's reform agenda in the political, economic and social areas. In total, the ongoing EU bilateral cooperation currently amounts to €393 million (including commitments from previous years).

In 2011, to address priority needs, the EU brought forward interventions planned for later years, raising the committed amount to €111 million instead of the €71 million foreseen. The additional €40 million was used for two programmes targeting SMEs and innovation, and to increase to € 65 million the budget of a programme supporting Public Financial Management reform.

Other funds (committed in 2010 and 2011) support Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency reform (€35 million), Education reform (€23 million) and public administration capacity reinforcement trough twinning with European institutions and technical assistance (envelope of €13 million).

New programmes launched in 2011 also included: capacity-building in wind energy and solar power (€10 million); support to the reform on employment, technical and vocational training (€35 million); democratic governance (€10 million); water for low income communities (€10 million); and local economic development (€10 million).

In 2012 three new initiatives are in preparation at the moment: Justice Sector Policy Support Programme (Budget Support - €30 million); Justice Sector Capacity Building (Preparatory justice project - €3 million); Support to reform in the Security Sector (Project approach - €5 million); Support to Media and Civil society (Project Approach - €10 million).

EU support is fully in line with Jordan's priorities and development strategies and with those laid down in the Joint Communication of 8 March 2011 "A Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean' and with that of 25 May 2011 "A New Response to a Changing Neighbourhood".

The European Union seeks wherever possible to co-finance initiatives with EU Member States and other international partners. This maximises the efficiency and impact of our support. In particular, the grants extended in specific reform areas also aim to leverage loans from financing institutions and private sector investments, thus increasing considerably the amounts actually made available to implement reform.

For the period 2011-13 Jordan furthermore benefits from EU thematic programmes accessible to civil society organisations:

  1. The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), allocated €3 million supporting freedom of expression and promoting democratic values.

  2. The Non-State Actors and Local Authorities (NSA-LA) thematic programme provided €1.4 million to promote local development through civil society with a focus on job creation and income generation.

  3. The Investing in people programme allocated a total of €1.6 million to projects in Jordan in 2010-2011 (through the "Gender Equality" component, for empowering women and for addressing discrimination and violence against women; and through the "Good Health for All" component, for promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights among youth).

  4. Under the Migration and Asylum thematic Programme, two projects aiming at providing assistance to Iraqi refugees, with an allocation of €1.7 million, started in 2011.

Jordan is also an active participant in, and beneficiary of, a range of regional initiatives. These include in particular: the Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF); Cross-Border Cooperation; twinning, where Jordan is an enthusiastic user of the instrument, which supports capacity building for public sector agencies by linking them with European counterparts; SIGMA - Support for Improvement in Governance and Management; TAIEX - Technical Assistance Information Exchange; Erasmus Mundus (Higher Education).

Humanitarian aid

ECHO, the Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department of the European Commission has provided, and still does, assistance to Iraqis in Jordan through UNHCR and NGOs for the provision of relief and protection to vulnerable people (the total budget since 2007, for the region including Jordan, amounts to €104 million). This was complemented by EU bilateral assistance to Jordan, through the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) to help alleviate the pressure caused by the influx of Iraqis on national infrastructures and services, such as water (€12 million) and schools (€26.7 million).

In response to current developments, ECHO has released emergency funds on 3 February 2012 to provide humanitarian assistance in Syria and neighbouring countries.

The €3 million funding covers life-saving assistance to those who have been wounded or forced to flee the ongoing violence in the country. ECHO will keep monitoring the humanitarian situation and provide assistance based on needs.

Summary of bilateral and humanitarian EU support to Jordan for 2011- 2013:

Cooperation with Jordan 2011-2013

€ Million




European Neighbourhood Policy Instrument





Total ENPI





European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR)





Non-State Actors (NSA)





Investing in People





Migration and Asylum





Humanitarian aid – Syria crisis




Humanitarian aid – Iraq crisis (since 2007)





Total all financial instruments





For further information please consult:


  2. The EU's response to the 'Arab Spring' MEMO/11/918

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