Sélecteur de langues
Accra, 31 July 2012
PR PCE 129
Press statement by the President of the European Council,
It was with shock and deep sadness that I had learned of the sudden death of President John Evans Atta Mills. I had come to Ghana expecting to meet President Atta Mills and to congratulate him personally on many of his achievements. I wish to extend my most sincere condolences to the people of Ghana and to his wife and family.
In these current sad circumstances for the country I am particularly grateful to have had the chance to meet President John Dramani Mahama. We have exchanged views on a number of bilateral and regional issues.
We confirmed the excellent relations between the European Union and Ghana and expressed our willingness to develop our partnership further, based on the shared values enshrined in the Cotonou Agreement. In many respects, Ghana is a model, which has inspired other African countries to strive for democracy, respect for human rights, poverty alleviation and economic success.
Although the country is saddened by the passing of one of its great sons and statesman, its mature reaction to this loss and the quick implementation of constitutional provisions designed to ensure the continuity of democratic government, shows once again how far this country has moved forward.
Indeed, over the past 20 years Ghana has shown its democratic credentials, ensuring peaceful transfers of power through elections. As discussed with President Dramani Mahama, the coming elections should allow Ghanaian citizens to exercise again their democratic rights through a free and transparent process. On my side, I commended Ghana for its open and wide public debate on the Constitutional review process and encouraged further progress in governance, policy reforms and de-centralisation. The EU will continue to support these efforts.
As Ghana's number one trading partner, major foreign investor and largest donor, I underlined the EU's commitment not just to reducing poverty but also to building prosperity. In this context, we agreed that all efforts should be made to conclude the Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and ECOWAS. In the meantime, we recalled the benefits accruing from the 2007 interim agreement, which grants full duty free and quota free access to the EU market to all products originating from Ghana. Full implementation of this agreement remains important to promote investments.
Finally, I listened attentively to President Dramani Mahama' views on current security challenges in the region. We highlighted the importance of African Union, ECOWAS and UN Security Council support to Mali in order to re-establish democratic order and the rule of law in its territory. This is also key in the fight against terrorism and organised crime. In this regard, I informed President Dramani Mahama about the EU's comprehensive efforts to contribute to the development of a peaceful, stable and prosperous Sahel region and our readiness to cooperate closely with other actors to avoid the spread of conflicts over the entire region.
I wish to conclude reiterating my heartfelt condolences to the people and government of Ghana as well as to the bereaved family for the recent passing of President John Evans Atta Mills. His leadership and contributions to the development of his country will be remembered. In this time of sorrow the links between the EU and Ghana remain strong. We will continue working even closer together to confront common challenges and for the prosperity and security of our citizens.