Spain’s fiscal crisis ‘takes toll on aid to Jordan’

01-07-2013 11:11 AM

Ammon News - By Khetam Malkawi/ Jordan Times

MADRID — Spain will not be able to increase or maintain the same amount of financial assistance to Jordan this year, due to the current fiscal crisis that it is going through, a source at the Spanish foreign ministry said.

“In the short term, we don’t expect to be able to give financial aid to Jordan, Palestine or Syria,” the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Jordan Times recently.

He noted that Jordan is one of the most important countries in the region for Spain, adding that Madrid is aware of the current burden on the Kingdom due to hosting Syrian refugees.

To rectify the situation, “Spain can vote through the European Union for money to go to Jordan, and this is what we are already doing”, the official added.

Spain’s financial support to projects in the Kingdom stood at 20 million euros (JD18.4 million) in 2012.

Of the total, 7.5 million euros were allocated to support microcredit, 3 million euros for environment and climate change projects and 9 million euros went for other undertakings, including a project implemented by the Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation to train small- and medium-sized enterprises on how to access credit.

In a recent interview with The Jordan Times in Madrid, the foreign ministry source said: “In many issues on international relations that are going through a European Union common policy, Spain is trying to move the European policy towards what we think is in our best interest, including the issues related to Jordan and the peace process.”

He added that the relations between the two countries are very good. “It’s true that traditionally they are very good, even during the time of the [Francisco] Franco regime when Spain was isolated.”

Jordan’s regional role

The source noted that politically, Jordan is of great importance to Spain because it is a main player in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and in the Syrian issue.

“Whatever topics Europe is interested in throughout the Middle East, Jordan is there… when it is about the peace process, the Arab Spring and the issue of Syria, Jordan has a central place,” he noted.

“What we have is positive, but what we don’t have is deep and complex relations from an economic point of view,” the source explained, noting that the economic relations between the two countries are below what they could be, and it is the role of the private sector to strengthen them.

The only thing that the Spanish government can do, he said, is to encourage Spanish firms to have more work in Jordan and the region.

Spanish exports to the Kingdom reached 216 million euros in 2011, a 74 per cent increase over the previous year.

Fuel and other oil derivatives constituted 25.6 per cent of the exports, followed by ceramic products (18.8 per cent), electrical and mechanical equipment (15 per cent), chemical products (13.4 per cent), foodstuff (9.4 per cent) and textiles (7.9 per cent).

Jordanian exports to Spain stood at 31 million euros — mainly potash, nitrates and fertilisers.

The interview with the Spanish official was conducted during a visit of a Jordanian delegation organised by the Spanish Cooperation Agency for International Development to Spain as part of “MASAR” programme.

The programme included visits and meetings at the foreign ministry, the Defender of People’s Rights office, Real Instituto Elcano, the Popular Party, the Parliament’s Commission of Foreign Relations, the Socialist Party, Casa Árabe, the Constitutional Court, the General Council of the Judiciary and El País daily newspaper.

The Jordanian delegation included members of political parties, NGOs and media.

The MASAR “Path” Programme is a Spanish Cooperation programme aimed at supporting the processes of democratic governance in the Arab world.

Countries targeted in the programme include Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, Jordan, Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories.

  • no comments

All comments are reviewed and posted only if approved.
Ammon News reserves the right to delete any comment at any time, and for any reason, and will not publish any comment containing offense or deviating from the subject at hand, or to include the names of any personalities or to stir up sectarian, sectarian or racial strife, hoping to adhere to a high level of the comments as they express The extent of the progress and culture of Ammon News' visitors, noting that the comments are expressed only by the owners.
name : *
show email
comment : *
Verification code : Refresh
write code :