Joint message on the passing away of Nelson Mandela
European Commission President Barroso and the President of the European Council Van Rompuy expressed their condolences on the passing away of Nelson Mandela, "one of the greatest political figures of our times".
In their joint message the two Presidents stated:
"This is a very sad day not only for South Africa, but for the entire international community. We mourn the death of one of the greatest political figures of our times. Nelson Mandela was not only key in transforming South Africa into the democratic country it is today.
Nelson Mandela represents the fight against racism, political violence and intolerance. He represents justice, freedom and respect for human rights. He taught us all a major lesson in reconciliation, political transition and social transformation. Only a person with his profound humanity, moral integrity and authority and clear vision for the future of his country, could have achieved this.
While we grieve today, there is no better way we can honour his memory than by reaffirming our collective commitment to uphold the values of true and deep democracy for which Nelson Mandela fought tirelessly.
On behalf of the European Union, we convey our most heartfelt condolences to his family and to the government and people of South Africa."
On President Barroso's request the flags in front of European Commission's buildings are flying at half-mast.
President Barroso will attend the State Memorial Service in Johannesburg for Nelson Mandela on Tuesday, 10 December 2013.
President Barroso said the following: "I had the great privilege to meet Nelson Mandela on a number of occasions and like many others, I admired his example of selflessness, courage and wisdom. The world community owes a debt of gratitude to this great statesman and human being. The outpouring of emotion in Africa, Europe and all over the world on the passing away of Madiba is a testament to his influence across the globe. I will have the honour to represent the European Commission at the State Memorial Service in Johannesburg".