The EU Council stressed in the statement that the elections were “neither free nor fair” due to the reduced electoral calendar, obstacles to the opposition’s participation and multiple irregularities concerning democratic standards.
“Against this background, the EU calls for the holding of fresh presidential elections in accordance with internationally recognized democratic standards and the Venezuelan constitutional order. In this context, the EU will act swiftly, according to established procedures, with the aim of imposing additional targeted and reversible restrictive measures, that do not harm the Venezuelan population, whose plight the EU wishes to alleviate,” the document read.
Previously, the EU froze some assets belonging to a number of Venezuelan individuals, companies and organizations, convincing Switzerland to follow the lead.
On May 20, Venezuela held its presidential election, with four candidates in the running. According to the National Electoral Council (NEC), incumbent leader Nicolas Maduro was re-elected as Venezuelan president for his second term, having secured 68 percent of votes, with slightly over 46 percent voter turnout. A number of states, including the EU members, have slammed the vote as either unfair or illegitimate.
In response, Caracas condemned "a systematic aggression campaign" by the US, which allegedly attempted "to punish the Venezuelan people for exercising their sacred and legitimate right to vote."