The recent surge of protests across Jordan, following an increase in fuel prices, is raising new fears about the country’s stability. The months ahead could be particularly bumpy. Faced with contentious parliamentary elections and IMF-mandated price increases, there is a very real prospect of deepening discontent that could be exacerbated by regional uncertainties. Even so King Abdullah continues to resist substantive reform aimed at building national consensus and cementing his government’s legitimacy to push through painful economic decisions. This is increasing the risk of instability.
While it remains important that Europe maintains solid public support for the kingdom in this period of uncertainty, it is high time for a more critical diplomatic dialogue in private. The EU - backed by key member states, the UK, France, and Germany - should challenge the king on the lack of substantive reform and press for real change to allow for wider political inclusion, ideally ahead of upcoming parliamentary elections.
In ECFR’s new policy memo “Jordanian tremors: elusive consensus, deepening discontent” Julien Barnes-Dacey analyses the current environment in Jordan and calls for greater European support for meaningful political reform.
- The EU should press for more progress in creating an inclusive political system that will be better equipped to deal with the economic difficulties that Jordan now faces.
- Europe should raise concerns over the expansive political role of the security service and press for more meaningful action against corruption.
The European Council on Foreign Relations does not take collective positions. This paper, like all publications of the European Council on Foreign Relations, represents only the views of its authors.