Question for oral answer to the Commission Rule 115 Paolo De Castro, Véronique De Keyser, Jo Leinen, Adrian Severin, on behalf of the S&D Group Liisa Jaakonsaari, Ivo Vajgl, Michael Cashman, Antigoni Papadopoulou, Vincent Peillon, Maria Eleni Koppa, Patrizia Toia, Jean Lambert, Tokia Saïfi, Maria Da Graça Carvalho, Tanja Fajon, Edite Estrela, Marietje Schaake, Jutta Steinruck, Mariya Nedelcheva, Kriton Arsenis, Santiago Fisas Ayxela, María Muñiz De Urquiza, Hélène Flautre, Rui Tavares, Vincenzo Iovine, Sonia Alfano, Zoran Thaler, Michel Dantin, Vittorio Prodi, Anne Delvaux, Alexandra Thein, Kyriacos Triantaphyllides, Charles Goerens, Nikolaos Chountis, Kader Arif, Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou, Margrete Auken, Ioannis A. Tsoukalas, Roberto Gualtieri, Reinhard Bütikofer, Emilio Menéndez del Valle, Nicole Kiil-Nielsen, Raimon Obiols, Proinsias De Rossa, Antonyia Parvanova, Erminia Mazzoni, Guido Milana, Olga Sehnalová, Stephen Hughes, Kartika Tamara Liotard, Sajjad Karim, Isabelle Durant, José Manuel Fernandes, Patrick Le Hyaric, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Gabriele Albertini, Malika Benarab-Attou, Rosario Crocetta, Thijs Berman, Pavel Poc, Daciana Octavia Sârbu, Richard Howitt, Ana Gomes, Ioan Enciu, Hans-Gert Pöttering, Marek Siwiec, Corina Creţu
Subject: The situation of the Jordan River with special regard to the Lower Jordan River area
The Jordan River is one of the most remarkable rivers of our planet. It is a cultural landscape of universal significance with great historic, symbolic, religious, environmental, agricultural, economic etc. importance for Arabs and Israelis, for Christians, Jews, Muslims and others.
Nevertheless, the Jordan River has been devastated by overexploitation, pollution and lack of regional management. An estimated 98 % of the river’s fresh water resources have been diverted by Israel, Jordan and Syria with a resulting 50 % loss of biodiversity.
All that is presently left flowing in the Lower Jordan River is agricultural run-off, diverted saline waters and untreated sewage. While the building of new wastewater treatment centres aimed at removing serious pollutants is a major achievement, if this advancement is not coupled with the allocation of fresh water resources, the situation will only deteriorate. Therefore, without concrete action, long stretches of the Lower Jordan River will run dry by the end of 2011.
The rehabilitation of the Jordan River, and the Lower Jordan River area in particular, is of the greatest importance for Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian local communities sharing the same water challenges, and offers tremendous economic and trust-building benefits. An active cooperation between governments and the local communities concerned may be a major contribution to regional peace efforts.
Several international actors, including the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly, have addressed the situation of the Jordan River. The EU’s support may also be decisive. Taking into account that the EU provides extensive funding to development projects in the Middle East, and is committed to the Middle East peace process, has the Commission identified the rehabilitation of the Jordan River, and the Lower Jordan River area in particular, as a peace and development priority in the region? How can the EU and its Member States further encourage and support, also in the framework of the EU-Mediterranean partnership, the development and implementation of a comprehensive management plan to rectify the devastation wrought on the Jordan River as well as strengthening the trust-building dimensions of these efforts?