The European Union
reaffirms its commitment to the democratic development of Venezuela and
reiterates the importance of fully implementing the political agreement
signed on 29 May 2003 by the Government and the opposition 'Coordinadora
Democrática', in line with Resolution 833 of the Organization of American
States (OAS), which calls for a constitutional, democratic, peaceful and
electoral solution to the crisis in Venezuela.
The European Union
underlines the importance of prompt and effective compliance by the
National Electoral Council (Consejo Nacional Electoral - CNE) with its
institutional duties. In this respect, the European Union is concerned at
the delay in the process of verification and validation of signatures to
determine the possibility of recall referenda. It welcomes the announcement
by the CNE of its intention to conclude the process at the latest by 28
February, and calls on the CNE to expedite the definitive decision on the
holding of the referenda.
In view of the role of the
OAS in Venezuela and the cooperation it has established with the CNE in the
verification process, the European Union fully supports the recommendations
contained in the joint statement by the OAS and the Carter Center of 13
February 2004. It agrees, in particular, with the criteria of international
observation viz. the principle of transparency in control mechanisms against
possible fraud, as well as the inalienable right of citizen participation
that must be guaranteed by the electoral authority. The EU believes that
the will of the signatories must be respected. Although the EU recognizes
that there may have been some instances of fraud, the CNE should apply
technical regulations in a way which respects the rights of citizens who
have signed petitions in good faith.
The European Union calls on
all parties to continue to implement the agreement of 29 May 2003 in a
climate of mutual respect, tolerance and restraint, and to fully abide by
the Declaration against Violence and for Peace and Democracy of 18 February
2003, within the framework of the rule of law and democratic principles.
The Acceding Countries
Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta,
Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia, the Candidate Countries Bulgaria,
Romania and Turkey, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association
Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia,
the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, and the
EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European
Economic Area, align themselves with this declaration.