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Marking Europe Day, EU ambassador highlights Jordan’s ‘advanced status’ with bloc

Jordan to host 14th EU-Jordan Association Council meeting next month

By JT - May 23,2022 - Last updated at May 23,2022

AMMAN — The 14th EU-Jordan Association Council meeting will convene in the Kingdom for the first time next month, EU Ambassador to Jordan Maria Hadjitheodosiou said on Sunday.

During an event to mark Europe Day, held in Amman on Sunday, the ambassador highlighted the importance of bilateral relations with Jordan, according to a statement made available to The Jordan Times.

“Twenty years ago, our partnership was legally codified in a formal Association Agreement. Since 2010, Jordan has enjoyed advanced status with us,” Hadjitheodosiou said.

The ambassador said that she arrived in Jordan three years ago but due to the pandemic, Sunday was the first opportunity to mark Europe Day.

“Europe Day is a truly special occasion for us. The European Union is first and foremost a partnership,” she said.

The ambassador pointed out that Europe Day is intended to be a celebration of “an enlightened approach to building peace, and the reconciliation of old animosities; all founded on principles we cherish: Dialogue, respect for human rights, and rule of law.”

On impacts of the COVID pandemic, the ambassador noted that countries all over the world were all “intensely challenged to find appropriate response mechanisms”, hailing Jordan’s measures taken in response to the pandemic.

“We congratulate the government for the empathy and compassion that was shown in vulnerable, displaced, and refugee populations, on a non-discriminatory basis,” Hadjitheodosiou added.

She also pointed to the support the EU provided to the Kingdom, notably an innovative package of approximately 108 million euros in direct financial support to the health sector, while The Team Europe approach reached 841 million euros in total.

On the European Union’s position towards the Ukrainian crisis, the ambassador said that the EU’s institutional response was “clear and unambiguous”.

“The invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation was denounced as both unprovoked and unjustified,” she noted.

She also voiced hopes of finding a satisfactory resolution, noting that the EU is addressing the resulting food, energy and economic crisis not only in Europe, but also its impacts on “neighbours and partners around the world”.

In regard to regional conflicts, the EU continues to support resolutions of all regional conflicts, Hadjitheodosiou said, stressing their commitment to a just and comprehensive resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the two-state solution.

The ambassador also hailed Jordan’s efforts in hosting refugees, saying: “We commended Jordan’s generous hospitality in welcoming refugees from conflict-affected neighbouring countries, most recently from Syria”.

She also referred to hosting the sixth Brussels Conference to rally support from international donor countries towards Syria and the region.

“We are proud that our convening power resulted in pledges amounting to 6.4 billion euros. I would note that three quarters of this [4.8 billion euros] came from the EU and our member states,” Hadjitheodosiou added.

The ambassador also referred to holding the 14th EU-Jordan Association Council meeting in the Kingdom for the first time next month.

“The main goal of the meeting is to jointly endorse a newly negotiated set of ‘partnership priorities’ that will guide our relations over the coming years,” she said.

The priorities range from cooperation in areas of security and counter-terrorism, through the economic and job creation domains, among others, according to the ambassador.

She also voiced the EU’s continuous support of digital green transition and water security initiatives, in addition to fostering inclusive opportunities for youth, women, persons with disabilities and marginalised communities.

Among the priority themes are also gender empowerment and countering gender-based violence, according to the ambassador.

“The European Union places particular importance on democracy and human rights; the ‘silver thread’ of our foreign policy. We will work with the government of Jordan and all relevant actors to help realise this vision and create an environment favourable to public engagement in political participation,” Hadjitheodosiou noted.

The ambassador concluded by thanking the attendees and EU delegation for organising the event and constant cooperation with Jordan.

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