The Association Agreement between the European Union (EU) and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan came into force in May 2002 and forms the legal basis of the relations between the EU and Jordan. It aims at fostering political dialogue, progressive liberalisation of trade and promotion of co-operation in a wide spectrum of sectors.
Adopted in June 2005, the first EU-Jordan Action Plan contributed to developing bilateral relations by opening the doors to several EU initiatives. In October 2010, the EU-Jordan Association Council agreed on an "advanced status" partnership. A new EU-Jordan Action Plan was adopted in October 2012.
TheEuropean Neighbourhood Instrument(ENI) is the key EU financial instrument for bilateral cooperation with Jordan for 2014-2020. Thematic cooperation programmes – for example, on human rights or civil society – are other funding sources. Moreover, Jordan is eligible under the Erasmus+ programme in the field of higher education.
Jordan and the EU signed a Mobility Partnership in October 2014 to manage mobility and migration. Negotiations are continuing on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA).
EU assistance to Jordan takes mainly the form of country Action Programmes funded every year under the ENI. To complement these bilateral cooperation activities, Jordan also benefits also from regional and multi-country cooperation programmes funded under the ENI.
For the period 2014-2017, EU's assistance to Jordan may range between a minimum allocation of €312 million and a maximum allocation of €382 million. These figures are indicative: final allocations will depend on the country’s needs and commitment to reforms. The funding comes from the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI).
For 2014 – 2017 EU's bilateral assistance to Jordan under the ENI will focus on three priority sectors:
- Reinforcing the rule of law for enhanced accountability and equity in public delivery
- Employment and private sector development
- Renewable energy and energy efficiency
Complementary support for capacity development and civil society can also be provided also outside these priority sectors.
Key objectives, results and indicative financial allocations are outlined in the Single Support Framework 2014-17 .
In 2015, two major programmes to support Private Sector Development and Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency measures are in the process of adoption.
Jordan also received additional EU assistance from ENI funds aimed at dealing with the burden imposed on the country by the Syrian conflict, with a package of €68 million being agreed by the Commission at the end of 2014, to which was added a further €10 million in 2015. Most of these funds will be used to defray the cost of providing education for Syrian refugee children in Jordanian public schools and studying opportunities for University students.
From 2007 - 2013, the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) was the main EU financial instrument to fund development cooperation programmes with Jordan and ENPI bilateral assistance committed for Jordan during this period . For the period 2007-2013, bilateral assistance committed for Jordan totals €589 million. This amount includes additional funding granted through the incentive-based SPRING programme.
The multi-annual strategic framework for the EU co-operation with Jordan for 2007- 2013 had been outlined in the EU-Jordan Country Strategy Paper (CSP). During this period, major progress was made in the education, energy and public finance sectors of Jordan, with support from the EU (NIP 2007-2010 and NIP 2011-2013).
On energy, good progress has been recorded on the implementation of the strategy and policy for renewable energy and efficiency through the adoption in March 2013 of a tax exemption by-law for renewable energy and energy efficiency equipment.
On public finance, Jordan continues to make significant strides in improving financial information transparency and oversight.
Jordan has been severely affected by the Syrian crisis at the political, economic and social level since its outbreak in 2011. Over 630,000 Syrian refugees currently live in Jordanian territory.
Jordan has benefited from significant allocations to help it deal with the Syrian refugee crisis (€83 million allocated in 2012-13 under the ENPI alone), chiefly to help the country meet the burden of providing education for Syrian refugee children in the Jordanian state schooling system.
Additionally, the Commission adopted in December 2014, a decision establishing an EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis, the ‘Madad fund’. The Trust Fund will benefit Syria and the neighbouring countries, including Jordan. A first series of programmes for an amount of €41 million was approved in May 2015.
Regional and Neighbourhood-wide Cooperation Programmes
In addition to bilateral cooperation programmes, Jordan also benefits from various regional programmes, mainly in the areas of rule of law and justice, environmental and climate protection, migration and culture and youth. Jordan also participates in initiatives open to all Neighbourhood partner countries such as: Erasmus+, which enhances mobility and co-operation with the EU in the field of higher education, TAIEX, SIGMA, and the Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF).
Thematic Cooperation Programmes
Moreover, Jordan is also eligible for additional funds under several EU's thematic programmes and instruments, including the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), the Non-State Actors and Local Authorities programme and the migration and asylum programme.