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The main goal of the European Union and Jordan partnership is fostering a political dialogue, enhancing trade through a progressive liberalisation and promoting co-operation in a wide spectrum of sectors. 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.
In December 2016, the EU and Jordan adopted Partnership Priorities and an annexed EU-Jordan compact (see below). The Partnership Priorities set out the framework for political engagement and enhanced cooperation. They were agreed in the context of the revised European Neighbourhood Policy and the EU's global strategy for foreign and security policy. Partnership priorities will be reviewed by the end of 2018.
Jordan and the EU signed a Mobility Partnership in October 2014 to manage mobility and migration. Negotiations are also continuing on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA).
European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI)
The European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) is the key EU financial instrument for bilateral cooperation in Jordan. Bilateral aid follows multiannual programming (Single Support Framework (SSF)) which defines the areas of focus for EU assistance, in line with the Partnership Priorities. The multiannual planning translates annually into the Action Programmes.
For the period 2017-2020, the EU's bilateral assistance to Jordan under the ENI, with an indicative allocation of €335.5 million - €410.1 million, will focus on the three following priority sectors:
- Enhancing Jordan’s social and economic development,
- Strengthening the rule of law,
- Upgrading border management and preventing violent extremism.
In addition, the EU provides complementary support for capacity development and civil society.
Jordan also participates in initiatives open to all Neighbourhood partner countries such as:
- TAIEX and SIGMA, to support public administrations and to strengthen public management.
- The Neighbourhood Investment Platform (NIP), which allows to mobilise additional grants to leverage larger investments in the domain of water and energy in Jordan.
In addition to bilateral cooperation programmes, Jordan also benefits from regional and multi-country cooperation programmes funded under the ENI, mainly in the areas of rule of law and justice, environmental and climate protection, migration and culture and youth.
Together with Israel and Palestine, Jordan participates to the European Peacebuilding Initiative (former Partnership for Peace programme). Its overall objective is to facilitate the peace process by supporting a solid foundation at civil society level for a just and lasting settlement in the Middle East. The programme receives an annual contribution of €5 million.
Syrian refugee crisis
The EU has spearheaded the international response to the Syrian crisis (including actions in Syria and in the affected neighbouring countries) with over €10.6 billion mobilised so far by both the EU and its Member States.
Jordan has been severely affected by the Syrian crisis, with over 671,919 UNHCR registered Syrian refugees present in Jordan. To help the country deal with the burden imposed by the Syrian conflict, the EU has allocated significant additional funds.
For Jordan, the Commission’s total funding in response to the Syrian crisis amounts to over €1.2 billion. This assistance is helping Jordanian institutions, host communities and refugees from Syria by:
- Protecting the most vulnerable, meeting their most pressing humanitarian needs such as health, food, shelter, water and sanitation,
- Assisting refugees who fled Syria, ensuring decent living conditions and access to basic services (education, etc), including also through advocacy on their legal registration in the country,
- Promoting economic growth and job creation for both Jordanians and Syrian refugees, notably through facilitating access to basic, vocational and higher education, supporting private sector development, and facilitating trade with the EU. The aim is to foster socio-economic inclusion of refugees and increase their contribution to Jordan’s economic development,
- Reinforcing the capacities of those Jordanian institutions responsible for responding to the crisis, at national and local levels, including by investing in the upgrading of infrastructure to cope with the additional pressure resulting from the refugee presence,
- Supporting the country’s macro-economic stability through the provision of direct budget support and Macro-Financial assistance to the Government.
In the context of the Syrian crisis, and as announced at the London Conference "Supporting Syria and the Region" of February 2016, the EU and Jordan also adopted an EU-Jordan Compact (2016-2018). The Compact outlines mutual commitments and priority actions addressing the impact of the crisis and seeks to improve the living conditions of refugees temporarily living in Jordan as well as Jordanian citizens. At the Brussels I Conference (5 April 2017) and at the Brussels II Conference (24-25 April 2018), the EU and the international community renewed their support to the critical efforts the Jordanian government and Jordanian citizens are undertaking in response to the crisis.
In July 2016, in addition to this financial assistance, the EU and Jordan agreed on a relaxation of the rules of origin applicable to their bilateral trade in line with the EU-Jordan Compact. This allows producers in Jordan to use an alternative set of rules of origin for exports to the EU on the condition that the production of their goods takes place in one of the 18 geographic zones in Jordan and offers new job opportunities for Syrian refugees. The new scheme applies to 52 different product categories including textiles and garments, engineering and electrical products, chemical products, plastic products, and furniture and wood products. This initiative is already opening up new opportunities for trade with the EU, and its use should now be accelerated.
Since 2015, a significant proportion of non-humanitarian aid to help Syria’s neighbours cope with the refugee crisis has been channelled through the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis. The Trust Fund has brought about a more rapid and integrated EU response to the crisis, merging various EU financial instruments and contributions from EU Member States and other donors into one single flexible and responsive mechanism. Its main focus is on supporting the resilience needs of both host communities and Syrian refugees, which include access to education and training, as well as to livelihoods, health and water, sanitation and hygiene. The Fund has reached a total volume of €1.5 billion, of which €215 million has been allocated to Jordan.
Other financing instruments
Jordan receives a significant share of the EU's humanitarian assistance, especially for the reception of refugees in the country.
Jordan is also eligible for additional funds under EU thematic programmes and instruments, including:
- The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR),
- The Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), more specifically under the following thematic programmes:
The Erasmus+ programme, which enhances mobility and co-operation with the EU in the field of higher education.