Tag Archives: Venezuela

Iranian nuclear deal in focus of EU foreign ministers

The Foreign Affairs Council (28/05/2018) will start with a discussion on current affairs, allowing ministers to review pressing issues on the international agenda.

The High Representative Federica Mogherini and ministers may refer to the Sofia Summit (17 May), recent developments related to North Korea and the situation in Yemen.


Foreign ministers will continue to discuss Iran and the nuclear deal (#JCPOA) in light of the latest developments, in particular after the US decision to withdraw from the agreement.

This follows the discussion by EU leaders at their meeting in Sofia on 16 May. At this meeting, they agreed unanimously that the EU will stay in the agreement as long as Iran remains fully committed to it.


Foreign ministers will exchange views on the political situation in Venezuela, after the presidential election of 20 May. The Council is expected to adopt conclusions on Venezuela.

Democratic Republic of Congo

The Council will discuss the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, following up on the Council conclusions of 11 December 2017 and in view of the foreseen elections at the end of the year.


Over lunch, foreign ministers will discuss the situation in Gaza following recent developments, including in relation to the move of the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

African, Caribbean and Pacific countries

The Council is expected to discuss the negotiating mandate for the future agreement between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. The current ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, also known as the Cotonou Agreement, will expire in February 2020.

Foreign ministers had an initial discussion during January’s Foreign Affairs Council. Development ministers had a discussion on 22 May 2018.

Sakharov Prize 2017 ceremony in Strasbourg

Representatives of the democratic opposition of Venezuela have today received Parliament´s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought during a ceremony in Strasbourg.

“The Prize is for all Venezuelans in the world,” said Parliament President Antonio Tajani while awarding the prize. The President noted that the human rights situation in Venezuela was deteriorating and called for a “return to free elections with the participation of all so that the Venezuelan people can decide their future”.

“Last weekend, President Maduro decided in an arbitrary and anti-democratic way to prohibit the main opposition parties from running for the presidential elections. This situation cannot continue like this,” Tajani said. “We want the country to return to democracy, to dignity, and freedom,” he stressed.


Accepting the award, Julio Borges, chair of Venezuela’s national assembly, said: “[The Sakharov Prize] is an acknowledgment for mothers denying themselves food to save their children, for children rummaging in the rubbish to satiate their hunger, for old people wasting away to death because of a lack of medicines. A young person who has now emigrated out of despair to seek opportunities elsewhere is another recipient of this prize as is a teacher overcoming ideological blindness and sticking to the task of training free men and women for Venezuela. Or again, those who are fighting for human rights in Venezuela, Venezuelan journalists who take risks throughout their lives in trying to show the true facts that people are trying to keep silent.”, said Mr Julio Borges, President of the Venezuela´s National Assembly.


Later on Borges called for humanitarian help, saying: “Hunger has been made into a political system in Venezuela: 75% of Venezuelans have lost 10 kilos weight over the last 12 months.” He also urged the EU and the world to follow the presidential elections attentively.

EU adopts sanctions against Venezuela

“The primary responsibility for ending the crisis in Venezuela lies in the country. The EU calls upon the government to urgently restore democratic legitimacy, including through free and fair elections, and on the opposition to continue engaging in a united manner towards a negotiated solution to the current tensions, in the interest of the country. The EU reiterates its full support to regional and international efforts to find a lasting solution to the crisis” – says the text of the conclusions on targeted sanctions of the EU on Venezuela.

On 13 November, the Foreign Affairs Council adopted conclusions on Venezuela,  and agreed on targeted sanctions in view of its concerns at the situation in the country.

Sakharov Prize top nominees 2017

The finalists for this year’s Sakharov Prize have been announced. The laureate will be selected on 26 October by the President and the political group leaders.

Aura Lolita Chavez Ixcaquic, the Democratic Opposition in Venezuela, and the Swedish- Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaak have been named as this year’s finalists for Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought following a vote by the foreign affairs and development committees on 10 October.

The finalists for this year’s Sakharov Prize are:

Aura Lolita Chavez Ixcaquic, a human rights defender from Guatemala. She is a member from the Council of Ki’che’ Peoples (CPK), an organisation that fights to protect natural resources and human rights from the expansion of mining, logging, hydroelectric and agro-industry sectors in the territory and has been subject to threats.

Democratic Opposition in Venezuela: National Assembly (Julio Borges) and all political prisoners as listed by Foro Penal Venezolano represented by Leopoldo López, Antonio Ledezma, Daniel Ceballos, Yon Goicoechea, Lorent Saleh, Alfredo Ramos and Andrea González. The situation in Venezuela has been seriously deteriorating in terms of democracy, human rights and the economy in a climate of growing political and social instability. Political prisoners in Venezuela as as well as the democratic opposition in Venezuela were also shortlisted for the Sakharov Prize in 2015.

Dawit Isaak, a Swedish-Eritrean playwright, journalist and writer, who was arrested in 2001 by the Eritrean authorities during a political crackdown. He has been imprisoned without a trial since and was last seen in 2005. Isaak has been also a Sakharov finalist in 2009.

Asia Bibi, Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag and Pierre Claver Mbonimpa had also been nominated for the Sakharov Prize.

On 26 October Parliament President Antonio Tajani and the leaders of the political groups, known as the Conference of Presidents, will select this year’s laureate from among the finalists. The prize, consisting of a certificate and €50,000, will the awarded in a ceremony in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 13 December 2017.

EU for 'negotiated' solution in Venezuela

“The transfer of Leopold Lopez to house arrest after more than three years in prison  is  a step in the right direction. It should be followed by further measures to implement the commitments undertaken by the government in the context of last year’s dialogue.” – says the European External Action Service.

“A negotiated political solution to get the country out of the crisis that is severely affecting the people of Venezuela is urgent.”

Venezuela: liberation of opponents


“The recent liberation of a number of jailed political opponents in Venezuela is a welcome step. Further steps towards a genuine political dialogue in the country are to be encouraged” – says the statement of the European external actions service (EEAS).

“Meaningful and earnest dialogue is urgently needed to find lasting political solutions to the grave problems which the Venezuelan people are facing”.

According to Amnesty International the situation in Venezuela remains grim,  human rights defenders and journalists are victims of attacks and intimidation. Political opponents of the government are confronted with unfair trials and imprisonment. The excessive use of force by the police is common practice, reportedly resulting in lethal outcomes, and some cases there was a suspicion of ‘unlawful killings’.

(Source: EEAS, Amnesty International)

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