(MENAFN - Jordan Times) EU Ambassador Joanna Wronecka on Sunday said Jordan has made positive economic and political reform measures over the past year, adding that the EU has completed a major review of its European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), which is based on "more for more" policy.
"We are proud of our relationship with Jordan. The EU sees Jordan as a strong partner with whom we agree on many issues. Jordan is sailing successfully through these difficult times. We are witnessing a process of political, social and economic reforms and we look forward to accompanying our dear Jordanian friends on their way. A strong, democratic Jordan is not only an asset for its people, but also to its European neighbours and friends and to the world," said the ambassador.
"We encourage Jordan to continue and build on its efforts of last year, which we believe were on the right track, and we hope that this year will be the year of delivery," the ambassador said, commending the legislative changes which the government has adopted and deemed to be boosting to the political life in the Kingdom.
She said that in May 2011, in the midst of changes sweeping the southern neighbourhood, the EU completed a major review of its ENP, adding that committed reformers in the EU's southern and eastern neighbourhood would be awarded greater and broader EU support.
She cited an additional EUR110 million allocated for Jordan this year to support its political and economic reform, in addition to EUR220 million the EU has allocated for the Kingdom to be made available for the years 2011-2013.
"Over the last 12 months, the EU has responded with determination to a fast changing situation in its neighbourhood. The EU reoriented assistance programmes and made an additional EUR1 billion available in 2011-2013 to be channelled through new innovative programmes," Wronecka said, adding that the European Investment Bank has also increased its lending ceilings by EUR1.15 billion.
"Applying the reform-rewarding logic of 'more for more', the EU has supported those partners embarking on political reforms. The Joint EU-Jordan Task Force, which met in February, resulted in an additional EUR70 million in assistance," she said.
Moreover, the EU official highlighted that the ENP Country Progress Report 2011 for Jordan, which describes the progress achieved in implementing the ENP Action Plan during that year, put forward a set of recommendations for the future, adding that the EU partnership with Jordan developed positively throughout 2011.
In trade-related issues, the ambassador said Jordan's total trade with the EU amounted to approximately EUR3.5 billion in 2011, adding that the EU was Jordan's first source of imports (20.1 per cent) and the seventh destination of exports (3.7 per cent).
"The report also puts forward a set of recommendations to the government of Jordan regarding the implementation of the action plan for the coming year. These cover issues including political reform, anti-corruption efforts, women's rights, freedom of the press, strengthening the judiciary and the use of renewable energy sources among others," Wronecka said.