VENEZUELAN President Nicolas Maduro has slammed the European Union for arrogance and “old colonialism” after it proposed further sanctions on the country.
The European Council issued a statement after a meeting on Monday which referred to “targeted and reversible restrictive measures” to be taken swiftly against Caracas.
It is understood that the sanctions will target top Venezuelan officials and could come into effect as soon as June 25.
Despite the EU refusing to send observers to Venezuela’s recent elections, it repeated its demand for a new poll, citing unsubstantiated irregularities in the voting, which it claimed failed to comply “with minimal democratic standards.”
Mr Maduro was re-elected with a stunning 68 per cent of the vote in the May 20 poll, which went ahead despite opposition groups’ threats and intimidation.
The Venezuelan president warned: “This is the European Union that arrogantly wants to put its nose in Venezuela’s business. Enough of this old colonialism.”
The EU has been criticised for its role in undermining democracy in a number of countries across the world.
Most recently it was accused of intervening to stop the appointment of a Eurosceptic finance minister in Italy, while Greek workers staged a general strike yesterday over EU-imposed anti-labour laws and austerity.
EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said the sanctions aimed to promote a “serious, meaningful political dialogue between the government and the opposition.”
However Mr Maduro’s calls for peace and dialogue have been snubbed by right-wing opposition groups, who have favoured violence and intimidation.
Delegates from the opposition Social Christian Party (Copei) met with Mr Maduro at the Miraflores Palace yesterday as part of the government’s peace talks initiative, although other groups continue to resist.