(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) 2014 has been a very difficult year for Palestine, particularly due to the suffering and destruction in Gaza and increased tensions across the West Bank including in East Jerusalem, an EU report showed here Wednesday.
The breakdown in negotiations in early 2014 meant there was no progress in the Middle East Peace Process during the year. The restrictions imposed by the Israeli occupation continued to hamper economic development severely, to undermine the financial sustainability of the Palestinian Authority (PA), it noted.
These factors, together with the conflict in Gaza meant that the already decelerating Palestinian economy entered into recession in the course of the year. The limited progress in intra-Palestinian reconciliation prevented the Palestinian Authority (PA) from exerting its authority in Gaza, it said.
In a set of annual reports adopted today, the European Commission assessed the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) with the 16 partner countries in the East and the South and made recommendations for the year ahead.
The report said that 2014 saw the signing of EU association agreements with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, democratic transition in Tunisia and strengthened relations with Morocco.
Nevertheless, conflicts and crises, involving security and humanitarian problems, persisted in both the east and south, especially in the form of terrorist threats and attacks. Significant support was mobilised by the EU to help Lebanon and Jordan cope with the increasing effects of the Syria crisis.
EU High Representative Federica Mogherini in press statements said: "2014 was a year of major challenges: armed conflicts in Ukraine, atrocities and human rights violations by terrorist groups in the Middle East and in North Africa, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." "These developments have been a test for the European Neighbourhood Policy. In this crucial time, the EU is determined to step up its engagement with our partners across the region on political, economic and security cooperation", she added.
On his part, EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, underlined the importance of the Neighbourhood Policy for the Union, and the ongoing review of the Neighbourhood Policy.
"The political assessments and economic evaluations, and the conclusions drawn in the 2014 ENP reports published today will assist the European Union in evaluating its approach towards the region as a whole," he said.
EU-Jordan relations progressed positively in 2014. Jordan has been considerably affected by the ongoing armed conflicts in Syria and Iraq. In addition to the refugee influx, the conflict led to a loss of trade routes, markets and energy supply.
Jordan has shown great resilience in the face of regional crises and continued to remain a moderate and tolerant regional key-player with a stabilising role both regionally and internationally.
Jordan continued its democratic transition process in 2014. The indicative bilateral financial allocation under the ENI for the period 2014-2017 will be in the range of 312 to 382 million euro, it said.
In the course of the year, following its reintegration into the African Union and amidst regional turmoil, Egypt emerged as a key foreign policy partner. Egypt played a pivotal role in brokering a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip in August 2014 and hosted a reconstruction conference in October, the report added.
The political transition continued to unfold with the completion of two more steps in the transitional roadmap - the approval of a new Constitution by referendum in January 2014 and the election of a president in May, it concluded.