Ninth Meeting of the EU-Jordan Association Council

1. The Euro­pean Union warm­ly wel­comes this ninth Meet­ing of the EU-Jor­dan Asso­ci­a­tion Coun­cil. Our meet­ing pro­vides an excel­lent oppor­tu­ni­ty to take stock of our rela­tions and the advance­ment of our bilat­er­al coop­er­a­tion since the last meet­ing of the Asso­ci­a­tion Coun­cil of 16 Novem­ber 2009. The EU val­ues Jor­dan as a very impor­tant part­ner in both the Euro­pean Neigh­bour­hood Pol­i­cy (ENP) and the Union for the Mediter­ranean and is com­mit­ted to strength­en­ing and fur­ther devel­op­ing a close, con­struc­tive and mutu­al­ly ben­e­fi­cial part­ner­ship with Jor­dan.

2. The EU wel­comes the suc­cess­ful con­clu­sion of nego­ti­a­tions over the new EUJor­dan ENP Action Plan that gives con­crete sub­stance to the “advanced sta­tus” of our part­ner­ship and com­mences the next stage of our rela­tions.

3. The EU high­ly val­ues Jordan’s com­mit­ment to the imple­men­ta­tion of the mea­sures agreed in the pre­vi­ous ENP Action Plan, based upon Jordan’s objec­tives of polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic reform and a fur­ther inte­gra­tion into Euro­pean eco­nom­ic and social struc­tures. The EU has acknowl­edged the efforts made and the results achieved in the four progress reports on the imple­men­ta­tion of the Action Plan (the lat­est one released in May 2010).

4. In Decem­ber 2008 the EU For­eign Min­is­ters wel­comed and endorsed Jordan’s desire to enhance its rela­tions with the EU, which Jor­dan had declared dur­ing the 2008 Asso­ci­a­tion Coun­cil by pre­sent­ing the “Paper on the upgrad­ing of Jor­dan- EU rela­tions”. Jor­dan fur­ther spec­i­fied its approach in the “Work­ing Paper on an Advanced Sta­tus with the Euro­pean Union” in June 2009 by putting for­ward con­crete pro­pos­als in a range of areas.

5. Dur­ing the 2009 Asso­ci­a­tion Coun­cil, the EU fur­ther appre­ci­at­ed Jordan’s pro­pos­als and expressed its readi­ness to strength­en co-oper­a­tion by a range of means at the polit­i­cal as well as at sec­toral lev­els, in line with the shared inter­est of both sides. To that aim Jor­dan and the EU joint­ly under­took to nego­ti­ate a new ENP Action Plan. In the nego­ti­a­tion process the sub-com­mit­tees played a vital role in exam­in­ing the con­tent and scope for enhanc­ing rela­tions between Jor­dan and the EU. The respec­tive meet­ings were tasked to under­take the nec­es­sary analy­sis of Jordan’s pro­pos­als and the EU’s respons­es, and to devel­op, each in its sec­tor, the con­tent for an enhance­ment of coop­er­a­tion.

6. The EU is pleased that this Asso­ci­a­tion Coun­cil can announce the polit­i­cal agree­ment on the new EU-Jor­dan ENP Action Plan, whose for­mal adop­tion process will be com­plet­ed in the forth­com­ing weeks. The new Action Plan reflects the ambi­tious char­ac­ter of our part­ner­ship as well as our shared, deep under­stand­ing of the mutu­al com­mit­ment to achiev­ing clos­er inte­gra­tion; of the pace and scope of reforms required; and of the con­tin­ued sup­port by the EU in order to over­come some of the remain­ing imped­i­ments in devel­op­ing our rela­tions.

7. The EU looks for­ward to increased polit­i­cal dia­logue with its Jor­dan­ian coun­ter­part in all areas of mutu­al inter­est. The EU also looks for­ward to seiz­ing the momen­tum gath­ered around the Action Plan nego­ti­a­tions to sup­port and rein­force Jordan’s reform efforts in the gov­er­nance, democ­ra­ti­sa­tion and oth­er areas. Fur­ther­more, the EU looks for­ward to main­tain­ing the com­mit­ment of both sides to ful­ly imple­ment­ing the pri­or­i­ties set out in the new Action Plan. Final­ly, the EU looks for­ward to work­ing joint­ly toward increas­ing the vis­i­bil­i­ty and under­stand­ing of our advanced-sta­tus part­ner­ship among cit­i­zens in Jor­dan and the EU Mem­ber States.

8. The EU wel­comes the Jor­dan­ian government’s con­tin­ued deter­mi­na­tion to achieve the objec­tives and com­mit­ments laid down in the Nation­al Agen­da and the Kul­lu­na al-Urdun ini­tia­tive, and the fact that its Nation­al Social and Eco­nom­ic Devel­op­ment Pro­gramme builds upon these reform agen­das. The EU encour­ages Jor­dan to imple­ment poli­cies con­ducive to main­tain­ing macro­eco­nom­ic sta­bil­i­ty and sup­port­ive of the poli­cies and sec­toral strate­gies set out in the Nation­al Agen­da.

9. The respect for demo­c­ra­t­ic prin­ci­ples, human rights, fun­da­men­tal free­doms and the rule of law con­sti­tutes an essen­tial ele­ment of the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment between the EU and Jor­dan and remains a pri­or­i­ty in the new ENP Action Plan. The EU acknowl­edges that Jor­dan has made sig­nif­i­cant progress over the last years in rein­forc­ing the rule of law.

10. The EU has tak­en a care­ful note of the tem­po­rary Elec­tions Law adopt­ed in May 2010. The EU con­tin­ues to encour­age Jor­dan to imple­ment spe­cif­ic rec­om­men­da­tions of its Nation­al Agen­da Com­mit­tee with regard to fur­ther reform­ing the elec­toral frame­work so as to ensure true and rep­re­sen­ta­tive polit­i­cal plu­ral­ism. The EU looks for­ward to Jordan’s hold­ing of the forth­com­ing par­lia­men­tary elec­tions in a free, fair and trans­par­ent man­ner.

11. The EU appre­ci­ates Jordan’s com­mit­ment to strength­en­ing coop­er­a­tion in the jus­tice sec­tor. At the same time, the EU encour­ages Jor­dan to con­tin­ue rein­forc­ing the inde­pen­dence of the judi­cia­ry. The EU wel­comes the zero-tol­er­ance pol­i­cy pledged by the Jor­dan­ian gov­ern­ment regard­ing cor­rup­tion.

12. While acknowl­edg­ing the pos­i­tive effects of Jordan’s Press and Pub­li­ca­tions Law, the EU encour­ages Jor­dan to main­tain full respect for free­dom of expres­sion with regard to the appli­ca­tion of the Penal Code. At the same time, the EU invites Jor­dan to ful­ly imple­ment its recent­ly adopt­ed code of con­duct on rela­tions between the gov­ern­ment and media, includ­ing the inter­net.

13. Regard­ing free­dom of asso­ci­a­tion, the EU takes pos­i­tive note of the appli­ca­tion of the Asso­ci­a­tions Act of 2009, and encour­ages Jor­dan to fur­ther bring the law in line with inter­na­tion­al stan­dards and address the remain­ing con­cerns regard­ing reg­is­tra­tion, dis­so­lu­tion and fund­ing of asso­ci­a­tions and civ­il soci­ety organ­i­sa­tions. The EU express­es its hope that the law will be ful­ly imple­ment­ed. The EU acknowl­edges that civ­il soci­ety brings added val­ue by pro­mot­ing par­tic­i­pa­to­ry gov­er­nance and plays a pos­i­tive role in an over­all reform process. The EU under­lines the impor­tance of fos­ter­ing civ­il soci­ety by allow­ing it to oper­ate with suf­fi­cient free­dom, and empha­sis­es the ben­e­fits of main­tain­ing con­sul­ta­tions with civ­il soci­ety rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

14. Con­cern­ing free­dom of assem­bly, the EU con­tin­ues to hope that the appli­ca­tion of the Pub­lic Gath­er­ing Law strikes the right bal­ance between the need to ensure pub­lic secu­ri­ty and safe­ty, and the goal of guar­an­tee­ing cit­i­zens the pos­si­bil­i­ty to par­tic­i­pate in pub­lic life. With regard to fur­ther increas­ing pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion, the EU notes pos­i­tive­ly Jordan’s con­tin­ued objec­tive of admin­is­tra­tive decen­tral­i­sa­tion. The EU also acknowl­edges the sus­tained activ­i­ty of the Jor­dan­ian Ombuds­man Office.

15. The EU wel­comes pos­i­tive devel­op­ments in the area of pro­tec­tion of women and chil­dren, such as Jordan’s progress on pro­tec­tion against domes­tic vio­lence and equal treat­ment of women, notably the recent­ly adopt­ed “Per­son­al Sta­tus Law”. At the same time, the EU encour­ages Jor­dan to fur­ther such efforts, par­tic­u­lar­ly regard­ing hon­our crimes, and invites Jor­dan to lift the two remain­ing CEDAW reser­va­tions. The EU wel­comes Jordan’s efforts regard­ing the pro­tec­tion of the rights of the child, espe­cial­ly on child labour, and calls on Jor­dan to strength­en its endeav­our to com­bat vio­lence against chil­dren in all set­tings.

16. The EU encour­ages Jor­dan to con­tin­ue pur­su­ing efforts aimed at fight­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion on all grounds.

17. The EU encour­ages Jor­dan to make fur­ther efforts on the fight against tor­ture and oth­er cru­el, inhu­man and degrad­ing treat­ment, includ­ing by imple­ment­ing the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Com­mit­tee against tor­ture adopt­ed in May 2010. The EU invites Jor­dan to rat­i­fy the Option­al Pro­to­col to the UN Con­ven­tion against Tor­ture.

18. The EU refers to the his­toric trend towards the pro­gres­sive abo­li­tion of the death penal­ty world­wide. The EU acknowl­edges Jordan’s de fac­to mora­to­ri­um on exe­cu­tions in place since May 2006 and strong­ly encour­ages Jor­dan to pro­ceed towards a de iure abol­ish­ment of the death penal­ty.

19. The EU invites Jor­dan to con­tin­ue imple­ment­ing the rec­om­men­da­tions endorsed by it at the con­clu­sion of the Uni­ver­sal Peri­od­ic Review process, to which Jor­dan was sub­ject, as stat­ed in the 2009 report of the UPR work­ing group.

20. The EU com­mends the pos­i­tive atti­tude to the Inter­na­tion­al Crim­i­nal Court that Jor­dan has main­tained since its ear­ly rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the Rome Statute. The EU looks for­ward to an enhanced coop­er­a­tion with Jor­dan in pro­mot­ing the uni­ver­sal­i­ty and full imple­men­ta­tion of the Rome Statute.

21. The EU remains ful­ly com­mit­ted to a suc­cess­ful devel­op­ment of the Union for the Mediter­ranean. The EU wel­comes the work that has been done to ensure the prop­er func­tion­ing of the Barcelona Sec­re­tari­at, includ­ing the appoint­ment of Ambas­sador Ahmad Masa’deh as its first Sec­re­tary-Gen­er­al. The EU looks for­ward to the for­mal adop­tion of the bud­get and work plan of the Sec­re­tari­at. It is essen­tial that the Union for the Mediter­ranean, build­ing on the achieve­ments of the Barcelona Process, be able to deliv­er as soon as pos­si­ble. The EU believes it is para­mount to make progress in the com­mon objec­tives agreed in Paris and Mar­seille, which will be fur­ther strength­ened at the forth­com­ing Sum­mit in Barcelona on 21 Novem­ber. Con­crete progress and joint efforts also need to be made con­cern­ing projects aimed at fos­ter­ing region­al inte­gra­tion. In this respect the EU wel­comes Jordan’s con­struc­tive con­tri­bu­tion and com­mit­ment to fur­ther devel­op­ing this joint ini­tia­tive.

22. Regard­ing the Mid­dle East Peace Process, the EU com­mends the impor­tant role Jor­dan plays in pro­mot­ing the sta­bil­i­ty of the region and the spe­cial role of Jor­dan regard­ing Holy Sites in Jerusalem. The Euro­pean Union will spare no effort, along with its part­ners in the Quar­tet as well as Arab part­ners, to sup­port US-led efforts for suc­cess­ful nego­ti­a­tions that lead to a frame­work agree­ment with­in one year. The Euro­pean Union regrets that the par­tial set­tle­ment freeze has not been extend­ed by the Gov­ern­ment of Israel. The Euro­pean Union recalls that set­tle­ments includ­ing in East Jerusalem are ille­gal under inter­na­tion­al law. If there is to be gen­uine peace, a way must be found through nego­ti­a­tions to resolve the sta­tus of Jerusalem as the future cap­i­tal of two states. The Euro­pean Union remains com­mit­ted to a com­pre­hen­sive set­tle­ment of the Arab-Israeli con­flict on the basis of the rel­e­vant UN Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil Res­o­lu­tions, the terms of ref­er­ence of the Madrid con­fer­ence, includ­ing land for peace, the Roadmap, the agree­ments pre­vi­ous­ly reached by the par­ties and the Arab Peace Ini­tia­tive. The EU reit­er­ates its com­mit­ment to a two-state solu­tion with the State of Israel and an inde­pen­dent, demo­c­ra­t­ic, con­tigu­ous and viable State of Pales­tine, com­pris­ing the West Bank and Gaza, liv­ing side by side in peace and secu­ri­ty.

23. The EU wel­comes the elec­tions in Iraq on 7 March 2010 and under­lines the urgent need to form a sta­ble gov­ern­ment in Iraq which is able to take deci­sive steps towards nation­al rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and to deal with all chal­lenges con­fronting the coun­try. The EU reaf­firms its sup­port to the Gov­ern­ment of Iraq in build­ing an inde­pen­dent, sov­er­eign, secure, sta­ble, uni­fied, demo­c­ra­t­ic and pros­per­ous Iraq, where human rights are respect­ed. The EU remains ready to co-oper­ate with Iraq’s neigh­bour­ing states and the rest of the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty on issues of mutu­al con­cern, such as the spread of ter­ror­ism. It pays trib­ute to Jordan’s con­struc­tive role in assist­ing Iraq to re-estab­lish rela­tions with neigh­bour­ing coun­tries.

24. The EU reaf­firms its long­stand­ing com­mit­ment to work for a diplo­mat­ic solu­tion of the Iran­ian nuclear issue and ful­ly sup­ports the efforts of the EU High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for For­eign Affairs and Secu­ri­ty Pol­i­cy to resume talks in this regard. The EU under­lines the impor­tance of full and uni­ver­sal imple­men­ta­tion of UNSCR 1929 in order to con­vince Iran to engage in mean­ing­ful nego­ti­a­tions about its nuclear pro­gramme and oth­er issues of mutu­al con­cern. The EU adopt­ed a Deci­sion imple­ment­ing the mea­sures con­tained in the UNSCR 1929 as well as accom­pa­ny­ing mea­sures, with a view to sup­port­ing the res­o­lu­tion, through nego­ti­a­tions, of all out­stand­ing con­cerns regard­ing Iran’s devel­op­ment of sen­si­tive tech­nolo­gies in sup­port of its nuclear and mis­sile pro­grammes. The aim of the EU is to achieve a com­pre­hen­sive long-term set­tle­ment that would rebuild inter­na­tion­al con­fi­dence in the exclu­sive­ly peace­ful nature of Iran’s nuclear pro­gramme, while respect­ing Iran’s legit­i­mate rights to the peace­ful uses of nuclear ener­gy under the NPT. The EU deplores the con­tin­ued vio­la­tions of human rights in Iran and remains deeply con­cerned about the use of the death penal­ty, the vio­lent repres­sion of human rights defend­ers and polit­i­cal activists.

25. Pro­lif­er­a­tion of weapons of mass destruc­tion and their means of deliv­ery remains one of the most seri­ous threats to inter­na­tion­al peace and secu­ri­ty. The EU remains com­mit­ted to close coop­er­a­tion with all coun­tries, includ­ing Jor­dan, in sup­port of the mul­ti­lat­er­al sys­tem of non-pro­lif­er­a­tion and dis­ar­ma­ment. The EU under­lines the impor­tance of full com­pli­ance with and nation­al imple­men­ta­tion of exist­ing dis­ar­ma­ment and non-pro­lif­er­a­tion treaties and agree­ments and oth­er rel­e­vant inter­na­tion­al oblig­a­tions and will con­tin­ue to strength­en the NPT and the non-pro­lif­er­a­tion regime. The EU wel­comes the out­come of the 2010 NPT Review Con­fer­ence and the renewed con­sen­sus with­in the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty in favour of the NPT and the inter­na­tion­al non-pro­lif­er­a­tion regime. It is also aware of the need to progress toward the imple­men­ta­tion of the 1995 NPT Res­o­lu­tion on the Mid­dle East and toward achiev­ing the Mid­dle East Zone Free of Weapons of Mass Destruc­tion and their means of deliv­ery, in line with the out­come of the 2010 NPT Review Con­fer­ence. The EU is par­tic­u­lar­ly con­cerned about the grow­ing threat pre­sent­ed by pro­lif­er­a­tion of bal­lis­tic mis­siles.

26. Ter­ror­ism is a threat to all states and all peo­ples. Both Jor­dan and the EU have repeat­ed­ly been vic­tims of ter­ror­ist attacks. The EU looks for­ward to con­tin­u­ing its fruit­ful coop­er­a­tion with Jor­dan to counter the ter­ror­ist threat, includ­ing in the frame­work of the EU-Jor­dan Action Plan. The EU places the utmost impor­tance on respect for human rights and inter­na­tion­al human­i­tar­i­an law. This respect and the fight against ter­ror­ism are two com­ple­men­tary and mutu­al­ly rein­forc­ing goals. The EU sup­ports the Unit­ed Nations as the only world­wide forum for com­bat­ing ter­ror­ism and remains com­mit­ted to reach­ing an inter­na­tion­al con­sen­sus on the draft Com­pre­hen­sive Con­ven­tion on Inter­na­tion­al Ter­ror­ism.

27. On the eco­nom­ic side, the EU acknowl­edges that growth in the Jor­dan­ian econ­o­my has gained momen­tum in 2010 led by exports and invest­ment as the glob­al eco­nom­ic cli­mate has improved. Ris­ing demand from Iraq has boost­ed exports while domes­tic demand is like­ly to remain sub­dued in the short-term, giv­en cuts to gov­ern­ment expen­di­ture. The deficit has been reduced in 2010 in line with a long-term effort to improve the sta­bil­i­ty and sus­tain­abil­i­ty of pub­lic finances. While rev­enues have improved com­pared to last year, cuts to gov­ern­ment expen­di­ture have been the main source of con­sol­i­da­tion. The EU is sup­port­ive of the struc­tur­al reforms that con­tribute to the reduc­tion of macro­eco­nom­ic vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties, pro­mote growth by increas­ing the role of the pri­vate sec­tor, gen­er­ate employ­ment and improve the effec­tive­ness and effi­cien­cy of pub­lic finances.

28. The EU encour­ages Jor­dan to take advan­tage of the exist­ing EU fund­ing mech­a­nisms, such as the Neigh­bour­hood Invest­ment Facil­i­ty and the Euro­pean Invest­ment Bank, inter alia in the areas of trans­port and ener­gy.

29. In the trans­port sec­tor, the EU wel­comes the con­clu­sion of the nego­ti­a­tions on the Euro-Mediter­ranean com­pre­hen­sive avi­a­tion agree­ment with Jor­dan, which was ini­tialled on 17th March 2010, and declares its readi­ness to pro­ceed to its sig­na­ture with­out delay. Jor­dan is the first coun­try in the Near East con­clud­ing such an agree­ment that will ensure the estab­lish­ment of com­mon stan­dards in the field of air trans­port, the pro­gres­sive open­ing-up of the mar­kets, boost eco­nom­ic rela­tions and tourism and offer new oppor­tu­ni­ties for con­sumers and oper­a­tors. The EU reaf­firms its sup­port to the imple­men­ta­tion of Jordan’s Nation­al Trans­port Strat­e­gy 2009–2011. The EU com­mends the estab­lish­ment on 1st Octo­ber 2010 of the Land Trans­port Reg­u­la­to­ry Com­mis­sion.

30. The EU wel­comes the lat­est devel­op­ments in the ener­gy sec­tor, includ­ing the adop­tion of the new leg­is­la­tion on renew­able ener­gy and on ener­gy effi­cien­cy that will con­tribute to the real­i­sa­tion of Jordan’s com­mit­ment in pur­su­ing con­crete tar­gets in this area. The EU reaf­firms its readi­ness to assist Jordan’s efforts in the pro­mo­tion of its Ener­gy Sec­tor Strat­e­gy and is keen to see Jor­dan tak­ing fur­ther steps in the Ener­gy mar­ket inte­gra­tion around the Mediter­ranean, such as the Mediter­ranean Solar Plan; the EU takes note that Jor­dan wish­es to become a region­al hub.

31. With regard to Research and Inno­va­tion, the EU wel­comes the sig­na­ture of the Sci­ence and Tech­no­log­i­cal Coop­er­a­tion Agree­ment with Jor­dan on 30th Novem­ber 2009 and trusts that it will rein­force the exist­ing coop­er­a­tion in the fields of com­mon inter­est and increase the Jor­dan­ian par­tic­i­pa­tion in the research Frame­work Pro­gramme (FP). In the frame­work of the FP7, 31 Jor­dan­ian appli­ca­tions were retained for an EC con­tri­bu­tion of € 2.54 mil­lion to the Jor­dan­ian insti­tu­tions.

32. The EU com­mends Jordan’s efforts towards fur­ther lib­er­al­i­sa­tion of trade and removal of all obsta­cles, includ­ing tech­ni­cal bar­ri­ers to trade. The EU wel­comes Jordan’s inter­est to expand trade ties with the EU through fur­ther lib­er­al­i­sa­tion of trade in ser­vices and estab­lish­ment. The EU encour­ages Jor­dan to engage as soon as pos­si­ble in bilat­er­al nego­ti­a­tions with the EU in this field. The EU wel­comes the immi­nent sig­na­ture of the Pro­to­col for the estab­lish­ment of a new mech­a­nism for the set­tle­ment of bilat­er­al trade dis­putes. This will take place on 11 Novem­ber in Brus­sels, in the mar­gins of the 9th Euro-Med Trade Min­is­te­r­i­al meet­ing. The EU has always been and con­tin­ues to be strong sup­port­er of the Agadir Agree­ment. It encour­ages Jor­dan to make full use of the pos­si­bil­i­ties offered by the Agadir Agree­ment, includ­ing the sys­tem of Pan-Euro-Med cumu­la­tion of ori­gin, and to facil­i­tate the exten­sion of the Agadir Agree­ment to new poten­tial mem­bers.

33. The EU com­mends on the trans­par­ent approach fol­lowed by Jor­dan as regards its plan to devel­op nuclear ener­gy for peace­ful pur­pos­es, while respect­ing inter­na­tion­al­ly recog­nised safe­ty, secu­ri­ty and non-pro­lif­er­a­tion stan­dards and require­ments, includ­ing the pro­vi­sions of the Addi­tion­al Pro­to­col with the Inter­na­tion­al Atom­ic Ener­gy Agency and of the Con­ven­tion on Nuclear Safe­ty rat­i­fied in 2009. The EU con­grat­u­lates Jordan’s mem­ber­ship on the IAEA’s board of gov­er­nors.

34. The Mem­o­ran­dum of Under­stand­ing regard­ing the Nation­al Indica­tive Pro­gramme 2011–2013 was signed in Amman on 31st May 2010. The impor­tant finan­cial allo­ca­tion of € 223 mil­lion proves the extent of the EU strong coop­er­a­tion which has steadi­ly increased over the last few years. This pro­gramme, encom­pass­ing four main pri­or­i­ties, aims at sup­port­ing: 1) Jordan’s polit­i­cal and secu­ri­ty reform in the areas of democ­ra­cy, human rights, good gov­er­nance, jus­tice and the fight against extrem­ism; 2) trade and invest­ment devel­op­ment; 3) sus­tain­abil­i­ty of the devel­op­ment process; and 4) insti­tu­tion build­ing, finan­cial sta­bil­i­ty and sup­port to reg­u­la­to­ry approx­i­ma­tion.

Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter