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Energy: a shaping factor for regional stability in the Eastern Mediterranean?

16-05-2017

Since 2010 the Eastern Mediterranean region has become a hotspot of international energy discussions due to a series of gas discoveries in the offshore of Israel, Cyprus and Egypt. To exploit this gas potential, a number of export options have progressively been discussed, alongside new regional cooperation scenarios. Hopes have also been expressed about the potential role of new gas discoveries in strengthening not only the regional energy cooperation, but also the overall regional economic and ...

Since 2010 the Eastern Mediterranean region has become a hotspot of international energy discussions due to a series of gas discoveries in the offshore of Israel, Cyprus and Egypt. To exploit this gas potential, a number of export options have progressively been discussed, alongside new regional cooperation scenarios. Hopes have also been expressed about the potential role of new gas discoveries in strengthening not only the regional energy cooperation, but also the overall regional economic and political stability. However, initial expectations largely cooled down over time, particularly due to delays in investment decision in Israel and the downward revision of gas resources in Cyprus. These developments even raised scepticism about the idea of the Eastern Mediterranean becoming a sizeable gas-exporting region. But initial expectations were revived in 2015, after the discovery of the large Zohr gas field in offshore Egypt. Considering its large size, this discovery has reshaped the regional gas outlook, and has also raised new regional cooperation prospects. However, multiple lines of conflict in the region continue to make future Eastern Mediterranean gas activities a major geopolitical issue. This study seeks to provide a comprehensive analysis of all these developments, with the ultimate aim of assessing the realistic implications of regional gas discoveries for both Eastern Mediterranean countries and the EU.

Autor extern

Simone TAGLIAPIETRA

Syrian crisis: Impact on Jordan

07-02-2017

The impact of the Syrian crisis on Jordan is immense. Jordan hosts an estimated 1.3 million Syrians, of which roughly half are refugees registered by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). An estimated two out of three refugees live below the poverty line. The strain of the ongoing refugee crisis on host-communities has led to public discontent, directed at the Jordanian government. Syrians live mainly among Jordan's most disadvantaged communities. The sudden influx of large numbers of people ...

The impact of the Syrian crisis on Jordan is immense. Jordan hosts an estimated 1.3 million Syrians, of which roughly half are refugees registered by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). An estimated two out of three refugees live below the poverty line. The strain of the ongoing refugee crisis on host-communities has led to public discontent, directed at the Jordanian government. Syrians live mainly among Jordan's most disadvantaged communities. The sudden influx of large numbers of people exacerbates challenges Jordan has faced for many years – increased competition for jobs, overburdened infrastructure and strained social services, such as healthcare and education. Marginalised Jordanians have begun to mobilise around their grievances as public frustration grows. To confront these issues, Jordan will continue to depend on external assistance. The country has accepted that the bulk of the refugees will remain until the situation in Syria allows for their return, which may be many years from now. In this context, creating job opportunities for Syrian refugees without discriminating against Jordanians will be a key policy challenge. Jordan's stability is a high priority for the EU. The country is an important partner in the European Neighbourhood Policy, as well as in the fight against ISIL/Da'esh. It is one of only two Arab countries to have signed a peace treaty with Israel and is key to any future agreement between Israel and Palestine. Jordan remains a haven of stability in a turbulent region; any change to this situation, particularly if it were to threaten the monarchy, would further destabilise a region in the midst of an existential crisis, potentially also causing new refugee movements to Europe.

EU pledges further aid to Jordan

19-01-2017

Since 2011, Jordan's economy has suffered from the negative spill-overs of the on-going regional conflicts and the Syrian refugee crisis, weakening the country's fiscal and external financing position. In line with the EU's objective to support the stability and development of Jordan's economy, the European Commission has presented a proposal to grant the country a second package of macro-financial assistance (MFA). Amounting to a maximum of €200 million, the assistance would help the country cover ...

Since 2011, Jordan's economy has suffered from the negative spill-overs of the on-going regional conflicts and the Syrian refugee crisis, weakening the country's fiscal and external financing position. In line with the EU's objective to support the stability and development of Jordan's economy, the European Commission has presented a proposal to grant the country a second package of macro-financial assistance (MFA). Amounting to a maximum of €200 million, the assistance would help the country cover a part of its external financing needs. The first MFA package, worth €180 million, was approved in 2013 and fully disbursed in 2015. In addition to the significant resources mobilised by the multilateral and bilateral donors, this second MFA, adopted in December 2016, will, by strengthening the economy, contribute to Jordan's overall stability, which is a high priority for the EU. The Commission will, if appropriate, put forward a new proposal in 2017 to extend and increase this MFA to Jordan. EU aid will complement the International Monetary Fund's new programme of about US$723 million, focusing on the country’s economic and financial reform programme. Third edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. To view earlier editions of this briefing, please see: PE 593.537, November 2016.

Parliamentary elections in Jordan

15-09-2016

Jordanians will go to the polls on 20 September 2016 to elect a new parliament, at a time of unprecedented regional upheaval, an increasingly challenging domestic economic situation and high levels of public discontent. A new electoral law introduces multi-member districts and elections using a list system, replacing the 'one-person, one-vote' rule. This has prompted the Islamic Action Front (IAF), the main opposition party, which had boycotted the 2010 and 2013 elections, to participate in the election ...

Jordanians will go to the polls on 20 September 2016 to elect a new parliament, at a time of unprecedented regional upheaval, an increasingly challenging domestic economic situation and high levels of public discontent. A new electoral law introduces multi-member districts and elections using a list system, replacing the 'one-person, one-vote' rule. This has prompted the Islamic Action Front (IAF), the main opposition party, which had boycotted the 2010 and 2013 elections, to participate in the election. Reducing the number of seats in the parliament from 150 to 130, the new legislation also provides for better representation of Jordan's largest cities while retaining quotas for women and minorities, including Christians, Circassians and Chechens. The IAF’s participation in the elections increases their legitimacy. However, in view of the strength of the monarchy, few expect the composition of the new parliament to significantly alter the country's domestic or foreign policies.

Jordan: A protest movement eclipsed

13-06-2016

Low-level protests in Jordan throughout 2011 were met by offers of reform from the King, and subsided as neighbouring countries descended into chaos and civil war. The Syrian refugee crisis has diverted attention away from the causes of the unrest in 2011, but has given rise to new grievances that have the potential to undermine the stability of the country once more.

Low-level protests in Jordan throughout 2011 were met by offers of reform from the King, and subsided as neighbouring countries descended into chaos and civil war. The Syrian refugee crisis has diverted attention away from the causes of the unrest in 2011, but has given rise to new grievances that have the potential to undermine the stability of the country once more.

The EU's Trade Policy: From Gender-Blind to Gender-Sensitive?

09-07-2015

The services of the European Commission are currently reflecting on the follow-up to the Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015 (COM (2010) final). The EU's trade policy has not yet been fully integrated into this Strategy, providing an opportunity for the INTA committee to consider whether and how gender issues should be dealt with in the context of the EU's trade policies. Article 8 TFEU provides that “in all its activities, the Union shall aim to eliminate inequalities, and to promote ...

The services of the European Commission are currently reflecting on the follow-up to the Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015 (COM (2010) final). The EU's trade policy has not yet been fully integrated into this Strategy, providing an opportunity for the INTA committee to consider whether and how gender issues should be dealt with in the context of the EU's trade policies. Article 8 TFEU provides that “in all its activities, the Union shall aim to eliminate inequalities, and to promote equality between men and women.” The trade policy issues that are discussed by the European Parliament's INTA committee can have differing gender impacts across the various sectors of the economy. Understanding the gender dimension of trade agreements better will therefore contribute to better policy making and to ensuring that both sexes can take advantage of the benefits of trade liberalisation and be protected from its negative effects.

Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries

16-05-2013

In the wake of the protracted internal armed conflict in Syria, growing numbers of refugees, predominantly women and children, have sought refuge in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. Reception conditions vary considerably, and the unabated influx of refugees is putting tremendous strain on the socio-economic and political stability of Syria’s neighbouring countries.

In the wake of the protracted internal armed conflict in Syria, growing numbers of refugees, predominantly women and children, have sought refuge in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. Reception conditions vary considerably, and the unabated influx of refugees is putting tremendous strain on the socio-economic and political stability of Syria’s neighbouring countries.

Humanitarian Crisis in Syria

11-09-2012

The political and military drama unfolding in Syria has become a large-scale humanitarian crisis, with 2.5 million Syrians in need of assistance. The EU is the most important donor of humanitarian aid for Syria. While the total number of refugees is currently near one quarter of a million, the figure is expected to more than double if hostilities do not cease. The Syrian regime appears willing to pursue a scorched earth policy, with the blessing of key supporters. The resistance may be courageous ...

The political and military drama unfolding in Syria has become a large-scale humanitarian crisis, with 2.5 million Syrians in need of assistance. The EU is the most important donor of humanitarian aid for Syria. While the total number of refugees is currently near one quarter of a million, the figure is expected to more than double if hostilities do not cease. The Syrian regime appears willing to pursue a scorched earth policy, with the blessing of key supporters. The resistance may be courageous, but also suffers from fragmentation and bickering. The EU seeks more stringent sanctions and an assistance programme.

Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMES) in the Southern Mediterranean

26-01-2012

In the Southern Mediterranean, micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) represent a substantial share of registered companies and employ 25% of the labour force. In Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia, MSMEs are concentrated in trade, light manufacturing and textiles. Widespread informality, corruption, insufficiently skilled labour force and difficulties in access to finance stand as the major obstacles faced by the region’s small businesses. EU’s and Member States development assistance ...

In the Southern Mediterranean, micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) represent a substantial share of registered companies and employ 25% of the labour force. In Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia, MSMEs are concentrated in trade, light manufacturing and textiles. Widespread informality, corruption, insufficiently skilled labour force and difficulties in access to finance stand as the major obstacles faced by the region’s small businesses. EU’s and Member States development assistance flows have addressed these concerns only partially: between 1995 and 2009, aid flows for MSMEs accounted for 10% of total development assistance and was split among a high number of initiatives, lacking a coherent strategy. The challenge of job creation has been highlighted by the 2011 upheavals and puts MSMEs at the centre of future economic strategies. In the context of the renewed European Neighbourhood Policy, this note focuses on Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia and has four objectives. First, it seeks to provide with a description of MSMEs in these countries, their contribution to employment, the sectors in which they are active as well as the constraints they face. Second, it moves on to assess both EU’s and Member States’ development assistance commitments for MSME support. Third, it provides with a picture of foreign direct investments (FDI) and partnerships concluded between European and Egyptian, Jordanian, Moroccan and Tunisian SMEs. Fourth, it reviews the visa policies applying for business persons in the region. Finally, it provides with recommendations to support the development of MSMEs within the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.

Autor extern

Rym AYADI (CEPS, Brussels, Belgium)

Analysis of the National Indicative Programme (2011-2013) of Jordan

22-01-2010

An active partner in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), Jordan was one of the first countries to have signed an Association Agreement (AA) in 1997. The ENP Action Plan comprises of support in political, social and economic areas, with the aim of moving Jordan closer to EU’s set of common values. Jordanian government has shown a strong commitment to reforms in the social and economic areas; however, reforms in the political area have been uneven. Part of the reason for this slow process could ...

An active partner in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), Jordan was one of the first countries to have signed an Association Agreement (AA) in 1997. The ENP Action Plan comprises of support in political, social and economic areas, with the aim of moving Jordan closer to EU’s set of common values. Jordanian government has shown a strong commitment to reforms in the social and economic areas; however, reforms in the political area have been uneven. Part of the reason for this slow process could be the worsening regional situation surrounding Jordan. Key challenges include a marked change in the political situation in the region with the new Iraqi government, in particular the influx of a large number of Iraqi refugees; the Gaza crisis, which escalated substantially since the Israeli offensive of the end of 2008; and, a general lack of tangible progress in the Middle East Peace Process. Under the new NIP, Jordan benefits from the ENP’s financial assistance in the sustainability of the growth process. The key programmes under this area aim to close the gap between skills attained and demanded; enhance the development of renewable energy sources; and, improve local development through decentralisation and better cooperation between municipalities. Support in the area of trade and investment is continued; however capacity building assistance for the services sector are withdrawn, which could be problematic as Jordan stands to gain from diversifying its export offer. Lastly, although political reforms are deemed as a priority, they are not properly supported by the government or by the new NIP.

Autor extern

SOFRECO PARIS, FRANCE

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