The EU pledges $23.5 million aid for Jordan

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini arrives for the EU spring summit in Brussels. (C) Gong Bing

In the wake of the massive protests that have sprung up following Jordan’s adoption of IMF-backed austerity measures, Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign policy chief announced that the EU will provide Jordan with $23.5 million (20 million Euros) in aid.

In a show of support, during Mogherini’s visit to Amman, Jordan’s capital, she said the European Union will support Jordan “with all possible means at our disposal including economic and financial means”.

She went on to add, “This is a country that has a vital role to play in the region” and Jordan “… will have always the EU at your side fully supporting your reform work.”

The funds are to “address in particular the needs of Jordanians that are particularly vulnerable,” said Mogherini.

Jordan, a close U.S. ally, is weighed down by debt having secured a $723-million loan from the International Monetary Fund in 2016.

IMF-backed austerity measures adopted by the government have seen prices of basic necessities rising significantly which has led to massive protests; in a cascading effect, the peaceful protests has led to the resignation of the prime minister Hani Mulki; King Abdullah’s newly designated prime minister, Omar al-Razzaz, has conceded to a key demand of the protestors saying he would drop the proposed income tax bill.

Jordan’s economic woes have worsened thanks to the instability in the region and the burden of hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing from the war in Syria.

According to the World Bank, with Jordan seeing unemployment rates touching 18.5%, its economic potential has “weak growth prospects” in 2018.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE have also pledged $2.5 billion in aid for Jordan.