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EU to Increase its Annual Aid to Jordan to 67 Million Euro


Amman, March 1 (Petra)--Within the framework of economic and financial cooperation between the EU and Jordan and under the European Assistance Programme for the years 2007-2010, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Jordanian Government and the European Commission under which the EU provides Jordan with grants worth Ä265 million for the said period was signed today at the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation.

The MoU was signed by Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Suhair Al-Ali, on behalf of the Jordanian government, and EU Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, on behalf of the European Commission, in the presence of Ambassador of the European Commission Delegation in Amman Mr. Patrick Renauld.
 


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The Minister of Planning and International Cooperation stated that signing the MoU will serve in supporting the governmentís reform efforts in the various development fields, through the implementation of a package of programmes and projects during the period 2007-2010.

The assistance will address four development priorities: Strengthen political reforms, promote and develop trade and investment between Jordan and the EU, increase growth and sustainable development and support financial reforms and provide institutions support to the institutions involved in the implementation of the Euro- Jordanian mutual Action Plan.

The Minister added that Jordan on average will be receiving about Euro 67 million annually over the period (2007-2010) in comparison with about Euro 50 million over the last period (1996-2006) representing an increase of 34% in the EUís annual assistance to Jordan.

Concerning the programmes to implemented during the said period, Al-Ali said that they will address a number of aspects such as support to human rights and good governance, support to modernization and development of the services sector, development of exports and enterprises, facilitation of transport and trade, support to education and employment policy, support to water sector, development of substitute or renewable sources of energy, and support to the implementation of the Jordanian- European mutual Action Plan.

The minister commended the distinguished relations between Jordan and the EU, particularly after putting into effect the Jordanian- European Association Agreement and the ENP Action Plan. She pointed out that Jordanís efficiency amongst the Mediterranean countries in terms of utilizing the EU's assistance and its implementation of the political, economic and social reform programmes have played a great role in enabling Jordan to receive the allocated volume of assistance for the period 2007-2010.

On her part, Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, expressed admiration for the level of Jordan's tangible achievements in the political, economic and social aspects.
 


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At the same time, she commended the reform efforts and programmes Jordan has been implementing in these aspects. Ferrero-Waldner has reaffirmed that the MoU signed today clearly indicates the extent of the EU's keenness on supporting Jordan, as it is a basic partner in the Euro-Med Association Agreement Barcelona Process and the ENP, pointing out that the assistance under the MoU will certainly contribute to supporting the implementation of Jordanís own reform effort through implementing a package of programmes and projects within a number of priorities which are in line with the reform programmes adopted by Jordan; specially the "We are all Jordan" initiative.

Minister Al-Ali expressed the Government of Jordanís gratitude and appreciation to the EU for providing this assistance; which reaffirms the EU's keenness on supporting the reform efforts implemented by Jordan. Within the same context, she pointed out that the amount of assistance under the MoU will raise the total assistance provided by the EU to Jordan since signing the Jordanian -European Association Agreement in 1997 will reach Ä895 million.

This assistance has helped and will continue to help to provide funding for the implementation of many programmes and projects that aim at the promotion of trade and investment between Jordan and the EU; support of the private sector; support of various reforms including strengthening the role of the civil society, rule of law and human rights; alleviation of poverty and unemployment and development of a number of vital sectors such as water, tourism, energy and higher education.

Prior to signing the MoU, a bilateral meeting held between Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Mrs. Suhair Al-Ali and Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner and accompanying delegation gave the two sides the opportunity to discuss bilateral relations in cooperation and ways of promoting them as well as acquainting the European side with the magnitude of challenges still facing Jordan and the difficulties that they may impose on the national economy development process.

The European side showed understanding of these challenges and reaffirmed that it would not hesitate to provide anything that may offset their adverse effects on the national economy. It added that Jordan's continued implementation of the economic and social reform programmes prompts the EU to seek new mechanisms and outlets to provide increased assistance to support Jordan's efforts in this direction.


 

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