Brussels, April 18, 2018.-
Recent developments in Venezuela are causing further polarisation and are preventing progress on the multiple crises that the country is facing.
The presidential elections are announced for 20 May, and will be held together with the election of the members of municipal and state assemblies. We deeply regret that elections have been convened without a wide agreement on the electoral calendar nor on the conditions for a credible and inclusive electoral process. We also regret the continued existence of political prisoners and obstacles to limit the participation of political parties and candidates. The recent decision of the National Electoral Council (CNE) to limit participation in local and regional elections to those parties that present candidates for the presidential elections is a further blow to the credibility of the process. This will only exacerbate polarisation and create more obstacles to a peaceful political solution.
The European Union calls on the government to ensure free, transparent and credible elections that allow the participation of all political parties under equal conditions; a balanced composition of the CNE; an agreed and viable electoral calendar and all technical guarantees necessary for elections to conform to international standards. Such conditions are necessary to allow for full and independent international observations missions.
The European Union is fully committed to supporting Venezuela to find peaceful and democratic solutions and is ready to use all its instruments to support regional and international efforts to that end. In this context, the European Union will monitor closely the electoral process and related developments on the ground and stands ready to react through appropriate measures to any decision or action that might continue to undermine democracy, the rule of law and human rights situation in the country.
The European Union is also concerned and monitoring in close cooperation with the UN and other international organisations, the social impact of the ongoing economic crisis that is seriously affecting the population, including many European citizens residing in the country, and leading to the current mass migration that creates challenges to host communities, particularly Colombia and Brazil, and regional stability. As announced by Commissioner Stylianides during his recent visit to the region, the EU will be providing assistance to those affected.