EU foreign ministers to discuss Venezuela sanctions following election concerns

EU foreign ministers to discuss Venezuela sanctions following election concerns

EU foreign ministers will meet today to condemn Nicolas Maduro’s regime and consider further sanctions.

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Photo: Reuters/Marco Bello

Following last week’s controversial Venezuelan election, EU foreign ministers will meet today to condemn Nicolas Maduro’s regime and consider further sanctions.

The EU is expected to issue a statement criticising the election as neither free nor fair and call for a new vote in Venezuela. As such rhetoric is likely to be ineffective, the EU will also propose new sanctions, with eleven officials expected to be added to the list of Venezuelans targeted.

While the EU hopes sanctions against individuals close to Maduro will pressure them to go against the president, the strategy has rarely worked in the past. Instead, the most penalising course for achieving change could be to target the country’s oil production, as Venezuela’s oil sector represents 25% of its GDP. As such, an embargo on Venezuelan oil imports would cripple its economy further and put Maduro’s regime under intense domestic pressure.

But such a course of action would cause global oil prices—already some 19% higher than last year—to skyrocket. Expect the EU and other western countries to maintain tepid strategy and Maduro to maintain his hold of power.