The EU said on Wednesday (2 August) that it would not recognise the new Venezuela assembly but it did not impose any sanctions for now.
EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini warned that the EU was “ready to gradually step up” action if the situation deteriorates.
However, the 28 European Union countries backed away from adopting sanctions in response to a controversial election that critics say is a bid by Maduro to stay in power, and to the arrest of two opposition leaders.
“The European Union and its member states, therefore, cannot recognise the Constituent Assembly as they have concerns over its effective representativeness and legitimacy,” Mogherini said in a statement after meeting EU diplomats to discuss the situation.
It called on Maduro’s government to “take urgent measures” change course, including suspending setting up the new Constituent Assembly and explicitly recognising all institutions under the constitution.
“Further confidence-building measures, such as the release of all jailed political opponents, are also needed,” the statement said.
The EU has previously warned that it had “grave doubts” about recognising an election for a constituent assembly that would hand Maduro more powers and condemned the arrest of high-profile opposition figures Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma.
“The European Union and its Member States are ready to gradually step up their response in case democratic principles are further undermined and the Venezuelan Constitution is not respected,” it said.
European Parliament president Antonio Tajani had urged the EU to consider sanctions.
“As President of the European Parliament […] I give my full support to the representatives of the Venezuelan people: the National Assembly. We will not recognise this election,” Tajani said.
EURACTIV was informed that Greece raised some concerns during the discussion.
Diplomatic sources stressed that it did not oppose a new EU common statement; however, it was cautious with a statement stating that the EU does not recognise the constituent assembly.