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The European Union asked for compliance with the Barbados agreements and warned that Maduro could not choose his opponents

The European Union asked for compliance with the Barbados agreements and warned that Maduro could not choose his opponents

European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson (L) and European Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, Dubravka Sojka (D), on Tuesday during a press conference on the fight against sexual exploitation of minors, at the European Parliament headquarters in Strasbourg (France). EFI/EPA/Ronald Wittek

European Commission (EC) He said on Tuesday that was the first step he had to take Venezuela Towards Democracy “Free, transparent and fair” presidential elections must be held in 2024.

In a discussion in the plenary session of the European Parliament to talk about the latest acts of repression in that country, the European Commissioner for the Interior said, Ylva Johansson, He stressed that this is a “critical” year for Venezuela and stressed that the European Union is ready to help the country move towards democracy.

Johansson considered the Barbados Agreement signed by the Venezuelan government and the opposition Democratic Unionist Party (PUD) last October as a “positive step” to strengthen political rights and electoral guarantees for the 2024 presidential elections.

The release of some political prisoners last December was also considered progress.

However, he believes these achievements have been “overshadowed” by actions such as the exclusion of opposition candidates. Maria Corina Machado And the Henrique Capriles

“They cannot exercise their political rights. This decision (issued by the Supreme Court of Venezuela) undermines the foundation of political participation, democracy and the rule of law,” he added. Johansson said.

The Commissioner recalled that the European Union had expressed its concern “repeatedly” and called for the full implementation of the Barbados Agreement and the opening of a dialogue (…) leading to fair and transparent elections.

Johansson noted that the European Union is ready to assist democracy, for example by deploying an electoral mission, “if officially invited by the Venezuelan authorities.”

He added: “The final decision will depend on the development of the situation in the country and the circumstances in which the electoral process takes place.” He stressed that it is necessary for the opposition to participate.

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He noted that between now and May, “the European Commission will continue to review the measures in line with what is happening on the ground.”

“Venezuela must return to the democratic path and the first step will be to hold free, transparent and fair presidential elections in 2024,” Johansson said.

For her part, Belgian Foreign Minister Hajja Habib, whose country holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union this semester, called for an end to the repression against democratic forces in Venezuela, and urged the authorities of that country to respect the Barbados Agreement.

“Venezuela is at a crossroads. We will continue to condemn actions that hinder the democratic aspirations of Venezuelans, especially the obstacles facing opponents,” he added.

The Belgian minister indicated that the situation of human rights and political prisoners will be closely monitored, and that in light of the events taking place in the country, the sanctions imposed by the European Union will be reconsidered.

With information from EFE