EU approves an additional $244.4 million package for Jordan
The European Parliament has approved a Macro-Financial Assistance package of 180 million euros to Jordan for 2013, EU Ambassador to Jordan Joanna Wronecka said Tuesday.
Wronecka said that, under the 2011-2013 National Indicative Programme (NIP), the EU has allocated an indicative budget of 223 million euros to Jordan in addition to another 40 million euros extended in support of the good governance programme.
She also said that the EU has provided an additional amount of 91 million euros to Jordan over the period 2012-2013 in support of implementation of key reforms in a difficult macro-economic context through the new programme SPRING (Support for Partnership, Reform and Inclusive Growth).
“This brings the total of bilateral EU grant funds to Jordan for 2011-2013 to over 330 million euros,” the ambassador said.
The EU has allocated a total of 265 million euros to Jordan for the 2007-2010 NIP, which defines the priorities for the EU-Jordan cooperation, she said.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, held on the occasion of the launch of the European Development Days, the ambassador said that the EU’s financial assistance to Jordan has mainly been provided under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) which, she said, is the main financial mechanism on bilateral and regional bases.
Held annually November 26-27 and organised by the European Commission, this year’s European Development Days (EDD13) will focus on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and on the global framework, which will succeed them by 2015.
The ambassador also said that Jordan is eligible to receive further aid under a wide range of EU thematic instruments in addition to the ENPI, including European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, the Non-State Actors and Local Authorities in Development programme.
Outlining the areas of the EU-Jordanian cooperation, Wronecka said that the Kingdom has also benefited from the European Neighbourhood Policy in particular in the priority areas of economic development, tackling poverty and unemployment, trade, security, empowerment of youths and women, and human rights, which represent the areas that Jordan has requested the EU to focus on.
Stressing Jordan’s “advanced status” within the EU, the ambassador said that the union has had its contributions to many of Jordan’s main sectors, including private sector development, employment, education, energy and environment, trade and transport, and culture with financial support during the 2011-2013 period amounting to 55 million euros, 35 million euros, 102 million euros, 53 million euros, 41 million euros and 1 million euros respectively.
“We always try to be involved everywhere in Jordan but it is not that easy job anyway,” the ambassador said.
On the EU’s support to Jordan in handling the Syrian refugee dilemma, the ambassador also explained that the union has been massively involved in efforts to alleviate the burdens of the refugee-plagued Kingdom and other hosting countries.
The ambassador explained that, for two years now, the EU has been undertaking all possible actions to support the people of Syria and the neighbouring states affected by the Syrian crisis, mainly Jordan and Lebanon.
She added that over 2 billion euros have been committed by the EU and its member states in response to the Syrian crisis, “making the union the world’s largest donor in this regard”.
In response to questions about the amount of EU financial support to Jordan to cope with the refugee crisis and to comments on the “inadequacy” of the union’s assistance compared with the actual hosting cost, the ambassador stressed that the EU remains deeply committed to assisting the Jordanian government in its response to the refugee crisis.
“The EU’s constant assistance to Jordan is stemmed from our realisation and recognition of Jordan’s pivotal role in providing support to the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees who now consist 10 per cent of the Kingdom’s population, and the resulting burdens on the already-limited resources. We know that the Zaatari camp for the Syrian refugees in resource-limited Jordan is among the world’s largest refugee facilities and we have been acting accordingly,” she said.
Wronecka, as well as statements distributed among journalists, remarked that the European Commission has so far channelled 220 million euros to Jordan through humanitarian, crisis response and development instruments.
She said that the Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department of the commission (ECHO) has so far provided 115.16 million euros for provision of services such as health, food assistance, shelter, water and sanitation, psychological support and protection to refugees both in camps and living in urban settings.
A total of 68.2 million euros in development assistance goes into education targeting both Syrian and Jordanian children, according to the delegation’s distributed statements and pamphlets, of which 30 million euros will be channelled through the Jordanian state budget.
The ambassador also said that the EU has approved 5.6 million euros grant to Jordan Enterprise Development Cooperation (JEDCO) for the enhancement of economic opportunities and job creation targeting the northern governorates, hosting the largest numbers of Syrian refugees.
“The EU is preparing specific support to Jordan’s host community for the expansion and improvement of wastewater services for 10 million euros to be implemented by the German Development Bank (KfW) in partnership with the Water Authority of Jordan. In addition to that, another package of 23 million euros is prepared under the Instrument of Stability, IOM and UNHCR,” the statement on the EU response to the Syrian crisis said.
Wronecka said that the EU is one of the world’s top donors as “solidarity and helping others” have been found to be the major priorities of 85 per cent of Europeans according to scientific surveys.