Europe Day Observed in Ghana with a Reception – May 9 2012 (09/05/2012)
EU Head of Delegation, Claude Maerten, Head of Cooperation, Kurt Cornelis and Head of Politics, Judikael Regnaut, welcome guests to the reception
Delegation of the European Union to Ghana held a reception in Accra, to mark Europe Day May 9 2012. It was attended by European Union Member States Ambassadors, members of the Diplomatic Corps, Government officials, Civil Society Organisations and members of the general public.
Proposing a toast to mark the Day, the Head of the Delegation, Ambassador Claude Maerten, recounted the formation of the European Union and the history behind the Schuman declarations with culminated into Europe Day aimed politically to bring peace after the two World Wars. “The aspiration at that time was forgiveness and future with an objective to build our future on the basis of peace stability and solidarity”.
He said 2011 has been a year of many challenges in the world and with many promises adding that “The Arab spring has shown that it is not possible any more to rule without the consent of the citizens, without respecting democracy, the rule of law and fundamental freedoms, human dignity and the principles of equality and solidarity. These are the core European and Ghanaian values which constitute the bedrock of Ghana-European Union Partnership”
Ambassador Maerten stressed on the four pillars of the partnership mainly peace and stability, prosperity, solidarity and global public goods in areas such as security, sustainable energy for all or environmental protection.
On Peace and Stability, The Ambassador stated that Ghana cannot fail in this crucial year in its history in which for the 6th time under the 1992 constitution, she will go the polls to elect a President and Parliament. “Ghana cannot afford to have unrest before, during and after the elections. As proven during the last 20 years, once again, Ghana has to lead by example. On behalf of the European Union, I call on all political parties, all political leaders, the Ghanaian citizens and all friends to show restraint and to exercise their power as voters in a peaceful, transparent and fair way”.
“We encourage all to refrain from the politics of insults as this does not work towards peace. We call also on the media to be moderate and not to propagate politics of insults”.
He pledged the EU’s commitment not only to reducing poverty but to building prosperity in Africa and Ghana by designing common policies for the future that will benefit their individual peoples and societies, on shared community of values and interests. He said in solidarity, the revamped EU development policy titled “Agenda for Change” is focused on High Impact Aid and so to get more added value and value for money from EU Development funds in sectors promoting governance and inclusive growth.
Responding to the toast, the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Dr. Benjamin Kumbuor, said Ghana’s association with Europe spans over 600 years stressing “our commonality of interests have always found us positively engaging European partners to tackle challenges related to human rights, terrorism, drug and human trafficking, and of late the emerging menace of piracy along coastal waters”.
The Attorney-General said President Mills is dedicated to ensuring peaceful, free, fair and credible elections come December 2012 as evidenced by the progression to the adaption of the biometric voters register in the upcoming elections based on experiences and best practices in the past.
He said Ghana is grateful to the EU partners for the tremendous support they have offered not only to Ghana but the African region in support of electoral processes and democratic development. “Apart from being Ghana’s major trading partner with 45% of Ghana’s exports going to EU member countries, the EU still remains Ghana’s major development partner as half of all Official Development Assistance to Ghana is contributed by EU Member States and the European Union”
Ghana Stands ready to cooperate with the EU in addressing the remaining obstacles to the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations so as to further boost trade and economic relations between the EU and Ghana.