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ENP Country Progress Report 2013 – Jordan

European Commission - MEMO/14/226   27/03/2014

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European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 27 March 2014

ENP Country Progress Report 2013 – Jordan

The 2014 annual “Neighbourhood Package” consists of a joint Communication (“Neighbourhood at the Crossroads”) and a set of country specific and regional reports. The report on Jordan underlines key/main developments and reform efforts in 2013 and makes recommendations for the year to come.

The EU-Jordan cooperation continued in 2013 and adapted to current circumstances. The country has been severely affected since 2011 by the Syrian crisis which is causing increasing socio-economic challenges. Jordan has been facing a steady and continuous wave of refugees from Syria (by the end of December more than 584.600 officially registered with the UNCHCR) straining the country's natural resources (notably water), impacting on its economy and exerting tremendous pressure on its educational system and health care services.

The EU, acknowledging the severe impact of the crisis, has provided over the last two years more than EUR 225 million of humanitarian and development aid to Jordan, in support of the refugees and the host communities.

In 2013, Jordan acted upon a number of key recommendations contained in last year’s ENP progress report, notably the adoption of an anti-corruption strategy and the ratification of the regional Convention on pan-Euro-Mediterranean preferential rules of origin. Other key recommendations made previously remain valid. In line with the commitments agreed in the ENP Action Plan, Jordan should pursue the reforms process and enforce the laws adopted. Jordan is particularly invited:

  • as stipulated by the Constitution, to repeal or amend by 1 October 2014 all laws, regulations and other legislative acts in force relating to the Constitutional amendments adopted in 2011;

  • to continue building a more consensual, inclusive, participatory and open political system where all Jordanians feel represented, by amending accordingly the electoral legal framework;

  • to strengthen the independence and impartiality of the judiciary and its administrative capacity;

  • to take concrete steps to eradicate violence against women and promote further integration of women in politics, economic affairs, education and employment, e.g. by ensuring that the law on protection against domestic violence is enforced;

  • to move forward with the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;

  • to ensure freedom of expression and freedom of the media, including by amending the relevant provisions of the Penal Code such that violations relating to freedom of expression and freedom of the media are no longer referred to the State Security Court;

  • to ensure freedom of association by relaxing current regulations and creating a conducive environment for active participation on the part of citizens;

  • to continue implementing the stand-by agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), including addressing the issues of tax reform, to increase tax collection and the progressivity of personal income taxation through legislative measures;

  • to take determined action to improve the business and investment environment through legislative and regulatory measures, with a view to enhancing growth; and

  • to continue the modernisation of public finance control institutions, in accordance with international best practices and to implement the Anti-Corruption Strategy 2013‑2017.

Reforms initiated, carried out successfully, or delayed during 2012 in the different areas of cooperation between the EU and Jordan are described in the annual country report. Some of the issues reported deserve special attention.

In regard to freedom of assembly, public protests directed towards both domestic and regional affairs continued in Jordan throughout 2013 though at a smaller scale than experienced in precedent years. Arrests related to freedom of expression continued in 2013. As regards media freedoms, the access to some 250 websites was blocked as they did not register and obtain a license with the Press and Publications Directorate, a government agency. Editors-in-chief are made legally responsible for all content posted on their sites, including users’ comments. CSOs referred to the decision as an attempt to regulate online speech.

Corruption remained a matter of serious concern. No progress can be reported in enhancing the effectiveness and independence of the judiciary.

In relation to free movement of goods and technical regulations, Jordan continued working towards establishing the adequate institutional and legal basis for the three priority sectors (electrical products, gas appliance and toys) for negotiating the Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (ACAA) aimed at facilitating the access of Jordanian industrial products to the EU internal market (and vice-versa).

The EU-Jordan Dialogue on Migration, Mobility and Security continued in 2013. Discussions were fruitful and negotiations for a Joint Declaration establishing a Mobility Partnership between the EU and Jordan were launched in December

EU–Jordan – BACKGROUND

THE POLICY

The European Neighbourhood Policy governs the relations between the EU and Jordan.

2002: EU-Jordan Association Agreement entered into force.

2005: EU-Jordan Action Plan was approved.

2008: Launch of the Union for the Mediterranean.

2010: Negotiations of the second EU-Jordan ENP Action Plan completed.

2010: “Advanced status” partnership agreed in October (EU-Jordan Association Council).

2012: Second EU-Jordan ENP Action Plan formally adopted.

FACTS AND FIGURES

2007-2010: The ENPI1 envelope for Jordan was earmarked at EUR 265 million.

2009: The European Investment Bank lent EUR 166 million for the construction of a water pipeline from Disi to Amman in order to address the problem of water scarcity. Furthermore, to address the needs of Iraqi refugees in the Zarqa area, an EC programme of EUR 12 million aims at improving water distribution.

2011-2013: The new National Indicative Programme (NIP) 2011-13 for Jordan was adopted in May 2010 with a EUR 223 million budget. The programme is geared towards supporting the achievement of key policy objectives as outlined in the EU-Jordan Action Plan and pursues four priorities: (1) supporting Jordan’s reform in the areas of democracy, human rights, media and justice; (2) trade, enterprise and investment development; (3) sustainability of the growth process; (4) support to the implementation of the action plan.

2011: the EU-Jordan Protocol for the Dispute Settlement in bilateral trade entered into force.

2012: EU and Jordan signed the Protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement on the general principles for the participation of Jordan in EU programmes.

2013: Launch of negotiations for a Joint Declaration establishing a Mobility Partnership between the EU and Jordan

For further information

Press release: Neighbourhood at the crossroads – tacking stock of a year of challenges (IP/14/315), 27 March 2014

For the Joint Communication check the EEAS website at http://eeas.europa.eu/enp/index_en.htm

Website of Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle: http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/fule/index_en.htm

Website of High Representative and Vice President of the European Commission, Catherine Ashton: http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/ashton/index_en.htm

European Commission: European Neighbourhood Policy

http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/index_en.htm

http://www.enpi-info.eu

http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/documents_en.htm

http://eeas.europa.eu/jordan/index_en.htm

http://eeas.europa.eu/enp/index_en.htm

1 :

the European Neighbourhood Partnership Instrument


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