Venezuela: hope for a negotiated political solution
In recent years, Venezuela has been struggling with its worst economic, political and social crisis, resulting in a humanitarian emergency of overwhelming dimensions and the largest migrant outflow in the American continent’s history. From a total population of 30 million people, 7.1 million Venezuelans have left their country since 2015, with more than 6 million hosted in countries of the Latin America and Caribbean region. The European Union has been, since the very beginning, at the forefront in assisting Venezuelans inside and outside their country. Between 2016 and 2022, the EU has allocated more than € 315 Million in response to the Venezuela crisis and most recently we announced an additional €30 Million.
The time to act is now
I thank President Macron for his initiative at the Paris Peace Forum: the time to act is now. The international situation, marked by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and the food and energy crisis, is pushing us to work with even greater determination for peace. The Venezuelan people and the countries of the region, which have so generously received millions of Venezuelan refugees, have been waiting too long. I encourage the Venezuelan negotiating parties to resume their dialogue in Mexico as soon as possible. Only Venezuelans can address the critical issues that have plunged the country into its long political and humanitarian crisis.
Only Venezuelans can address the critical issues that have plunged the country into its long political and humanitarian crisis.
The EU has been consistent in its approach. We have constantly stressed that a Venezuelan-led political dialogue is the only way out of the crisis and kept all channels of communication open. That is why I took the difficult decision to send an EU Election Observation Mission to the municipal and regional elections in Venezuela last November. Today, no one doubts that this was the right thing to do: it allowed our experts to share recommendations based on international standards to improve future electoral processes. I am confident that this European contribution can help generate greater participation and credibility in the next presidential election in 2024, and I encourage the negotiating parties to make full use of them in their deliberations. They can also count on the full support of the EU to accompany them in the implementation of these recommendations.
Latin America and the European Union are ready to redouble their efforts to accompany the Venezuelan-led negotiations.
The roundtable on Venezuela that took place at the Paris Peace Forum sent a clear message: Latin America and the European Union are ready to redouble their efforts to accompany the Venezuelan-led negotiations. Let’s make the next year a year of hope in Venezuela. A social and humanitarian agreement is an essential first step. It must be followed by a political agenda aimed at steering the country back to a democratic and sustainable path.
Difficult compromises, extensive cooperation and good faith will be required.
This process requires the rehabilitation of State institutions, in order to vindicate the political rights and electoral guarantees of the Venezuelan people. Restoring credibility to the functioning of the State will also help Venezuela to reinsert itself into the international economy. This is no simple task. Difficult compromises, extensive cooperation and good faith will be required. A successful resolution of Venezuela’s crisis would, of course, benefit the entire region: a region which is ready to welcome Venezuela back to the family table.
The EU is ready to do its part if there are positive developments and credible progress towards a Venezuelan-led solution. We can explore ways of cooperation to support the Venezuelan people on regional and global issues, including on energy security. The EU restrictive measures in place are reversible depending on the evolution of the situation. In short, a different relationship for the mutual benefit of our citizens is possible, but it is important to receive clear signals from all parties that we are moving in the right direction.
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