Monday

8th Aug 2022

EU denies 'clandestine' mission on Venezuela election date

  • Last week, EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell sent two diplomats to Caracas to discuss the possibility of postponing the December election for a few months (Photo: Josep Borrell Fontelles)

The European Union last week sent a diplomatic mission to Caracas to discuss with the Venezuelan regime and opposition leaders guaranteeing that "minimum democratic conditions" are in place for the parliamentary elections, due to take place in early December.

Besides the hyperinflation of the country, the humanitarian crisis, and the health emergency caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, there is a deepening political instability in Venezuela.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Since the fraudulent re-election of Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro in 2018, the majority of EU countries and MEPs in the European Parliament have recognised the leader of the main opposition, Juan Guaidó, as the country's legitimate head of state - only Cyprus and Italy do not recognise him.

Following reports in the Spanish media that EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell was sending diplomats to Venezuela in a "clandestine mission," the European People's Party said it was "alarmed" that such a move would weaken the political position of the EU towards the Venezuelan regime.

"It is as unthinkable as it would be currently unthinkable to send an EU mission to talk to the Lukashenko regime behind the back of the Belarusian opposition. That is exactly what this decision is doing at the moment with the Venezuelan democrats," the EPP said in a letter sent to Borrell on Thursday (24 September).

"Your mission gives the impression that for the EU, the legitimate interlocutor of the EU in Venezuela is the Maduro regime," it adds.

However, the European Commission clarified on Friday (25 September) that the EU mission to Caracas was not clandestine - since all 27 member states were informed before the EU officials left.

This mission follows previous efforts of the European Union to promote political and economic solutions that could lead to free, transparent and credible presidential and legislative elections.

The deputy secretary-general of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Enrique Mora, and the deputy director-general for America, Javier Niño, will be in Venezuela until Monday.

"These officials will be meeting all the various interlocutors, all political forces, civil society, the private sector and the church," a comission spokesperson said on Friday.

One of the main topics on the table is the possibility of postponing the elections for a few months since this would give time for the EU to send international observers to Venezuela.

"At the moment the conditions are not met [for the EU to observe the Venezuelan parliamentary elections], but we still believe that there is a window of opportunity," said Borrell after the foreign affairs council last week.

However, Maduro has previously said that it would be "impossible" to delay the vote.

Venezuela's opposition parties pledged this summer to boycott the December election, citing democratic irregularities. A similar move took place ahead of the presidential elections in 2018.

Earlier this month, UN investigators accused Maduro's regime of crimes against humanity in a report, citing systematic violence, killing, torture, sexual violence and arbitrary detentions.

Study shows how authoritarian regimes gain EU leverage

Currently, only 20 percent of MEPs show tendencies to support authoritarian powers - but that could change after the pandemic, a new study warns. It also calls for an improved vetting of MEPs, tougher lobbying rules, and better cybersecurity.

Opinion

Let Taiwan's democracy shine brighter

Dr Ming-Yen Tsai, head of the Taipei Representative Office in the EU and Belgium, responds to EUobserver op-ed on Taiwan by the Chinese ambassador to Belgium. "Taiwan is an 'island of resilience'. That will continue to be the case."

Opinion

Supporting Taiwan 'like carrying water in a sieve'

China's ambassador to Belgium, Cao Zhongming, says the US has been distorting, obscuring and hollowing out the 'one-China' principle and unscrupulously undermining China's core interests. This is sheer double standards and a shameful act of bad faith.

News in Brief

  1. Rhine river on the brink of closure for shipping
  2. Moldova sees 'prelude to war' with Russia-backed forces
  3. Taliban preventing Afghan evacuations to Germany
  4. Amnesty regrets 'distress' caused by Ukraine report
  5. Energy companies warn UK gas exports to EU are contaminated
  6. EU set for clash over rules on political adverts
  7. Three grain ships due to leave Ukraine on Friday
  8. EU on track to reach gas-storage November target

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Latest News

  1. Italy poised to elect far-right rulers
  2. UN chief demands access to nuclear plant after new attack
  3. Greek PM embroiled in spyware scandal
  4. How Ukraine made the case anew for an EU army
  5. 'We must take back institutions', Orban tells US conservatives
  6. Putin must lose Ukraine war, Nato chief says
  7. Let Taiwan's democracy shine brighter
  8. Droughts prompt calls to cut water use amid harvest fears

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us