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Job creation at core of EU efforts to support Jordan — ambassador

EU envoy highlights relaxed rules of origin plan during job centre tour on Wednesday

By JT - Jul 12,2019 - Last updated at Jul 12,2019

EU Ambassador to Jordan Andrea Matteo Fontana (second from left) at a factory in Madaba that produces sports clothing on Wednesday (Photo courtesy of the EU)

AMMAN — EU Ambassador to Jordan Andrea Matteo Fontana on Wednesday visited Jordanian and Syrian workers in Sahab and Madaba to listen to their experiences in accessing training and job opportunities. 

Ministry of Labour Secretary General Ziad Obeidat accompanied the ambassador during his visit to one of five EU-funded employment centres located in Amman’s industrial area of Sahab, some 30km southeast of the capital, according to an EU statement, which added that the centre was set up by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). 

The ambassador also travelled to Madaba, located some 30km southwest of Amman, for a tour of Mas Kreeda Al Safi, which manufactures high-performance sportswear. The factory employs 375 workers, the majority of whom are Jordanian women, and the facility recently hired its first batch of Syrian workers, the statement added. 

The factory was one of the first satellite units to register with the Better Work Jordan Programme — a joint initiative between the ILO and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). 

It expects to benefit from the EU-Jordanian agreement on the relaxation of the rules of origin plan which will allow Jordanian companies easier access to the EU market, provided that their production lines that produce goods to be exported to the EU comprise a minimum 15 per cent Syrian refugee workers.

“The EU-funded employment centres, like the one we visited today, match Jordanians and Syrians with opportunities in multiple sectors. At the same time, Better Work Jordan, through its assessment and advisory programme, helps companies improve standards for their employees,” Ambassador Fontana said during his visit. 

The visit was an opportunity to examine some of the outcomes of recent EU-ILO interventions to promote decent work, according to the statement, which added that the EU-funded project seeks to facilitate employment and job-matching services for Jordanian and Syrian jobseekers and promote decent work principles at enterprises authorised to benefit from the EU’s relaxed rules of origin initiative.

“These centres are an important achievement in addressing the needs of Jordanian employment and we would like to see more of them established across our towns and cities in order to reach a greater number of jobseekers,” Secretary General Obeidat said in the statement. “We also hope to see more factories reach new European markets through the trade scheme, which is essential for the country’s growth and investment.”

“Our joint efforts have succeeded in providing thousands of Jordanian and Syrian jobseekers with decent work opportunities, including in sectors exporting to the EU under the rules of origin trade agreement. Together, we also continue to support decent working environments in these factories through social dialogue... systematic monitoring of decent work principles and capacity-building activities, thus making employment opportunities more attractive and productive for all,” said Patrick Daru,  the ILO’s country coordinator for Jordan.   

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