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EU, Jordan sign new deal, agree on ‘partnership priorities’

By JT - Dec 20,2016 - Last updated at Dec 20,2016

AMMAN — The EU and Jordan signed a new agreement on Monday which will include 747 million euros (JD550 million) of EU assistance to Jordan in 2016-2017. Issues of regional security, counterterrorism, economic development and support for Syrian refugees in Jordan featured prominently. 

Federica Mogherini, EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, said the agreement strengthened the "already excellent cooperation, be it in addressing the impact of the Syria conflict or in our bilateral relationship". She stated that "Jordan is among the EU's key partners [and] we cooperate in facing the many crises of our region", according to an EU statement. 

Referring to the attack in Karak on Sunday, Mogherini reaffirmed the EU's position on terrorism. She said: "The EU is also more determined than ever to work together with Jordan in addressing the common challenge of terrorism and violent extremism and to sustain our cooperation on economic and political reform."

The agreement features a set of “partnership priorities” for EU-Jordan relations, which include strengthening democratic governance, the rule of law and human rights; increasing cooperation in strengthening regional stability and security, with a focus on counterterrorism; and the promotion of quality education and job creation, sustainable and knowledge-based growth, and economic stability. 

As well as partnership priorities, the agreement includes a compact, or pact, between the EU and Jordan, which seeks to fulfil commitments made by the EU and Jordan at the London conference in February 2016, particularly regarding Syrian refugees.

The compact commits the EU and Jordan to supporting and improving the living conditions of the 655,000 registered Syrian refugees in Jordan. Amman has agreed to provide 165,000 Syrian children with access to education and to increase the opportunities for Syrian youth to undertake vocational training.

The EU and Jordan have also agreed to simplify the rules of origin for Jordanian exports to the EU, though on condition that employment opportunities are also offered to Syrian refugees, alongside Jordanians. The required share of  Syrian labour in factories that benefit from the eased rules is set at 15 per cent. 

The agreement is part of the EU's global strategy for foreign and security policy, with the union explicitly stating that it is "committed to sharing its achievements and its values with countries and peoples beyond its borders". 

 

The partnership priorities are due to be reviewed at the end of 2018. 

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