Mr Koenders made the call when he led a team of EU delegation to Ghana to discuss with their local counterparts the framework of the Ghana-EU High Level Dialogue on Migration. The delegation is on a three-nation visit to Mali, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire in order to discuss how the agreements made between the EU and African countries at the Valleta Summit on Migration could be put into practice. The Valletta Action Plan was agreed upon by African and European Union (EU) leaders in 2015 to address migration problems.
The visits were on behalf of the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini. The Foreign Minister said the majority of migrants travelling to Europe through Libya are from West Africa and Ghana, Mali and Cote d’Ivoire are among the most common countries of origin.
“These are the places from where large numbers of people are travelling to Europe, often at great risk to their own lives. So it’s now time to reach agreements with the governments of these countries on managing these migration flows,” he said.
Mr Koenders said irregular migration costs many lives and puts young people at the mercy of unscrupulous traffickers.
“This is why curbing irregular migration is a priority for both the EU and Ghana as well as for the wider region. Migration should be based on mobility mechanisms, which take into account respect for human rights. At the same time reinforced efforts on border management and increased speed and efficiency of procedures for return and readmission are needed,” he said.
Mr Koenders welcomed the recent adoption of the National Migration Policy of Ghana, which provided the framework for addressing migration in line with the country’s sustainable development objectives. He recalled the recent financial support provided by the EU for programmes in addressing the root causes of irregular migration, assisting the Ghanaian authorities in developing and implementing migration policies and management, and fostering regional cooperation on crucial matters.
Mr Koenders described the Joint Declaration on Ghana-EU Cooperation on Migration that was agreed on, as a concrete manifestation of common effort to tackle migration challenges. During their visit they met with Mr Prosper Bani, the Minister of the Interior and Ms Hanna Tetteh, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.