A delegation from the European Economic and Social Committee met local civil society representatives and government officials on 26 and 27 March in Amman
The discussions during the visit focused on the difficulties faced by the country due to the regional instability. The refugee situation and the challenges that Jordan is facing in terms of integration and support were some of the major issues discussed. The EESC delegation acknowledged the need for international support and detailed measures as the country has developed a comprehensive approach to the massive influx of refugees, mostly fleeing the war in Syria, over the past years. According to 2017 data from the UN Refugee Agency, Jordan hosts the second highest number of refugees (89) per 1000 inhabitants in the world. Representatives from the European and Jordanian civil society expressed their concern about the unprecedented economic and political difficulties the country has to deal with being surrounded by countries in turmoil. Over recent years the situation in Iraq and Syria has resulted in Jordan losing major export markets and regional trading partners.
"The way Jordan has opened its borders to welcome refugees, despite the difficult situation, should be an example for many countries, including EU Member States," said Georges Dassis, the President of the European Economic and Social Committee.
In their different meetings, the EESC members expressed hope that the nomination of the members of the Economic and Social Council of Jordan could proceed as soon as possible in order to form a representative institution, composed of employers, trade unions and civil society representatives. The EESC delegation underlined the importance of the role of the Jordan ESC and of consulting organised civil society in the political process to find inclusive and sustainable solutions for the issues the country has to deal with.
During the visit the EESC members gathered more information on the work of civil society organisations and the government in the field of education and vocational training. As part of its fact finding mission the EU civil society representatives visited a Pharmaceutical Centre of Excellence in the town of Salt offering vocational training programmes – the centre aims to qualify Jordanians for the needs of national as well as regional pharmaceutical industries. Vocational training could be a factor in combating unemployment, especially among young people.
Spanning two days, the visit of the EESC delegation included meetings with the President of the Economic and Social Council of Jordan HE Mr Mustafa Hamarneh, the Minister of Planning and International Cooperation of Jordan HE Mr Imad Fakhoury, the Minister of Social Development HE Ms Hala Lattouf, the Minister of Labour HE Mr Samir Murad and the Speaker of the Senate HE Mr Faisal Al Fayez.