The EU Trapped in the Venezuelan Labyrinth: Challenges to Finding a Way Out
This report explores how EU Foreign and Security Policy towards the political crisis in Venezuela can be assessed against the backdrop of diverging positions within the EU and as well as between the EU, the United States and other powers. The EU’s Venezuela policy has been anchored in three main pillars: first, supporting dialogue platforms between the government and the opposition; second, sanctioning the Maduro regime to force it to negotiate; and third, providing humanitarian aid helping neighbouring countries’ attend to the massive migratory flow of Venezuelans. Intra-EU contestation was linked to the recognition of opposition leader Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president in 2019, but has eased since the EU dropped its recognition in 2021. Multipolar competition, and how it plays into patterns of regional fragmentation, has been another significant obstacle to the EU achieving its main foreign policy goal of free, fair and democratic elections. In the future, the EU approach should build on the renewed consensus between member states and focus on mediation, conditional sanctions relief, electoral observation, parliamentary diplomacy, support for regional governance and interregional cooperation.