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EU's Venezuela sanctions focused on people, not PDVSA



By Siobhan Hal / Platts


Petroleumworld 02 04 2019

The EU has no appetite for general sanctions targeting Venezuela or its state-owned oil company PDVSA, despite the US imposing sweeping curbs on the latter earlier this week, official EU comments show.

EU foreign ministers are ready to consider further sanctions against Venezuela to pressure the regime to hold new presidential elections, EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said late Thursday.

"I want to stress this very clearly: not sanctions in general terms against the country. We definitely do not want to affect the population," Mogherini told reporters after the ministers met informally in Bucharest.

Any further sanctions would target people with "a special responsibility" for obstructing the democratic processes or using violence against demonstrators, she said.

The EU has already imposed travel bans and asset freezes on 18 people in Venezuela -- although not the winner of the last presidential elections, Nicolas Maduro.

Mogherini said those elections lacked democratic legitimacy.

The EU wants Venezuela to hold new, "peaceful, democratic and free" presidential elections, she said.

It is setting up an international contact group involving both EU and Latin American countries to coordinate efforts toward this goal.

The group has 90 days to show that it is making a positive difference, and will be wound up or extended based on its results.

Mogherini also said that the EU itself has no authority to recognize foreign presidents, responding to the European Parliament's call this week for the EU to recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president.

That authority rests with the EU's national governments, although the EU would work to coordinate a common position on this, she said.


The US, meanwhile, is prepared to impose more sanctions if Maduro does not step down, a senior administration official said Thursday.

The US on Monday imposed sanctions requiring payments for US imports of Venezuelan crude to be placed into blocked accounts in the US, a condition which would essentially force a Maduro-backed PDVSA to ship crude to the US for free.

The sanctions are expected to stop Venezuelan exports to the US while Maduro remains in power.



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Edited by Alisdair Bowles from Platts / SPGlobal.

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