|EC report praises Jordan’s aid absorbance|
|The Delegation of the European Commission to Jordan has issued its annual report for 2003, highlighting the warm and strong EU-Jordan ties and emphasizing that the Kingdom was by far the best performer in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership in terms of absorbing assistance allocated to it.
“By the end of 2003, more than 90 percent of the 142 million euros commitment foreseen in the National Indicative Plan for 2002-2004 had already been made,” noted Ambassador Robert van der Meulen, head of the EC delegation in Amman.
He added that some 70 percent of grants committed to Jordan since 1995 have been paid. The delegation’s annual report for 2003 features overviews of the main developments within the EU and the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, or Barcelona Process.
It places particular emphasis on EU enlargement. The report also analyzes the objectives of the European Neighborhood Policy, which is a fresh initiative seeking to provide a new framework for relations with the neighbors of the enlarged union, including Jordan. In addition to illustrating the main components of the EU-Jordan political, economic, social and cultural partnership, the annual report for 2003 includes a summary of all the MEDA projects and more detailed information sheets of 18 on-going projects, from the 45 million euros Industrial Modernization Program, to the 20 million euros Support Program for the Implementation of the Association Agreement.
There is also the 60 million euros structural adjustment facility, aiming at supporting the government’s macroeconomic objective of increasing growth through greater openness and a sustainable reduction in the budget deficit. The 35 million euros emergency budget support granted by the EU to alleviate the negative consequences of the conflict in Iraq, the 20.7 million euros assistance to the water sector, and the 20 million Support for Regulatory Reform and Privatization Program are also illustrated. Other projects tackle the protection and promotion of cultural heritage (4.1 million euros) and institutional support to the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (10 million euros).
The promotion of human rights and democratization, development of a “culture of peace”, women’s rights, child and women’s health, good governance, rehabilitation of drought-affected communities, sustainable improvement of life conditions in the Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan, and several aspects of social and political development are at the core of other ongoing and completed EU projects featured in the annual report.
An important milestone in EU-Jordan cooperation during 2003 was the transfer of responsibilities from headquarters in Brussels to the delegation in Amman, under the commission’s decentralization program, “a move that further enhanced the delegation’s capacity to listen to its partners and react to new and changing situations on the ground,” the report said.
Amman,08 31 2004