The European Commission on Thursday adopted the first Action Plan for Jordan within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy.
Under the plan, Jordan will receive increased financial support that target actions envisaged in the Action Plan — mainly to support the political reform and economic modernisation agenda of the Jordanian government, a statement released by the European Commission Delegation said.
The commission has proposed to nearly double assistance to its partners, from the 8.5 billion euros for the period 2000-2006, to an allocation of just under 15 billion euros for the period 2007-2013, the statement said.
The Action Plan, which has been developed in close consultations with Jordan throughout 2004, is "a political document laying out the strategic objectives of cooperation between Jordan and the EU for the next three-five years."
It offers Jordan intensified political, security, economic and cultural relations, and shared responsibility in conflict prevention and conflict resolution. After endorsement by the EU member states, the Action Plan will be submitted to the EU-Jordan Association Council in 2005 for approval.
"The Action Plan demonstrates that Jordan is a key partner in the region," European Commissioner for External Relations and the European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner was quoted as saying.
"The plan recognises Jordan's role in promoting democracy, stability, and economic modernisation and cooperation. It is a concrete sign of our commitment to strengthen our ties...," she added.
At the economic level, the EU and Jordan will move beyond cooperation to a significant degree of economic integration, including obtaining a stake in the EU's lucrative markets and participating in key aspects of EU policies and programmes.
The Action Plan is the main implementation instrument of the European Neighbourhood Policy. According to EU web sources, the policy invites the EU's "neighbours to the East and to the South to share in the peace, stability and prosperity that we enjoy in the European Union."
Implementation of the Action Plan will extend trade relations to cover agriculture and the service sector and enhance Jordan's export potential by further liberalising trade, simplifying customs legislation and procedures, improving industrial standards, and modernising sanitary and phytosanitory systems.
The Jordan Action Plan is one of seven adopted by the European Commission on Thursday. The other partner countries for which action plans have been adopted are Moldova, Ukraine, Tunisia, Morocco, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
"Our aim is to create a ring of friends around the borders of our enlarged EU," Ferrero-Waldner said in the statement. "We have worked with our neighbours to devise tailor-made plans that meet the needs and reflect the requests of each partner. Our offer — greater cooperation, more financial assistance and a chance to benefit from a closer relationship with Europe — will bring real benefits to both sides.