As part of the EU’s effort to contribute to the strengthening of an independent judiciary in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,  the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn signed a €50 million agreement to support reforms in Jordan’s justice sector that are aimed improving the rule-of-law in the strategic Middle East country and boosting the effectiveness of its justice sector.

The aid package is part of the EU’s Annual Action Programme for Jordan, which also includes agreements on trade, institutional capacity-building, and social protection.

Jordan’s Justice Reform Sector Strategy 2017-2021, which is backed by Brussels, hopes to enhance the judiciary’s independence, accountability, transparency, and specialisation while also improving the overall capacity and effectiveness of the country’s justice ministry.

The new round of funds will include will provide up to €40 million in budgetary support for sectoral reform from 2019-2022, and  an additional €10 million for the implementation of measures by international development cooperation agencies including France’s  Agence Française de Développement, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit from Germany, and the Agency for International Development Cooperation from Spain to reinforce capacity-building arrangements, improve access to justice through enhancing the legal aid system and enhance legal cooperation.

The EU has been a strong supporter of Jordan’s justice reforms over a number of years, because, as His Majesty King Abdullah II has said, the rule of law is the guarantor of any individual and public rights, providing the effective framework for an efficient public administration and the basis for a safe and fair society. This €50 million programme takes EU support to Jordan since 2011 to nearly €2 billion of total financial support. The EU remains committed to continuing its support of Jordan and its ambitious reforms at this difficult time,” Hahn said at the signing ceremony in the Jordanian capital, Amman.

Jordan remains a bastion of social and economic development in the Middle East and an essential partner of the European Union and NATO due to its important role in promoting stability in the region and its close relationship with neighbouring Israel.  The government in Amman is one of only two Arab administrations, along with nearby Egypt, that has a formal peace agreement with and an official recognition of the state of Israel.

Jordan is also one of 16 nations designated as a Major non-NATO ally by the US Congress, a designation given to close allies that have strategic working relationships with but are not official members of NATO. King Abdullah II, who graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and served as a junior officer in the British Army in West Germany before returning to Jordan to be trained as a combat helicopter pilot, has been a strong proponent of developing ever-closer relations with the West.