The European Union condemned on Monday (31 July) what it said was excessive use of force by state troops in Venezuela and said it was unlikely to recognise results of elections on Sunday that were marred by deadly clashes.
Sunday marked one of the deadliest days since massive protests started in early April in Venezuela and voters broadly boycotted an election for a constitutional super-body sought by the unpopular leftist President Nicolas Maduro.
“We will not recognise this election,” said Antonio Tajani, president of the European Parliament. “It is very clear that the current regime is clinging to power. The will of the people is to change the regime. It is necessary to go to elections now.”
The bloc’s executive European Commission also said it had “serious doubts” about whether to recognise the result.
“The European Union condemns the excessive and disproportionate use of force by security forces,” it said in a statement. Venezuelan authorities said 10 people were killed in clashes between anti-Maduro protesters and law enforcement.
“Venezuela has democratically elected and legitimate institutions whose role is to work together and to find a negotiated solution to the current crisis. A Constituent Assembly, elected under doubtful and often violent circumstances cannot be part of the solution.”
It did not mention whether the EU was considering imposing more sanctions on Venezuela, as mulled by the United States.
Sources in Brussels said the EU’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, was preparing a joint statement on behalf of the bloc’s 28 member states, but said they did not think sanctions – which would require unanimity – were imminent.
Spain was among EU countries that had previously advocated sanctions and had called on Maduro to drop Sunday’s vote.