Published: Mon, 18 February 2019
MEP for Ireland South and Fine Gael’s leader in the European Parliament, Sean Kelly, has criticised the move by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to refuse entry into the country of four MEPs from the European People’s Party (EPP) Group.
The delegation included MEP Esther de Lange from the Netherlands and Spanish members Jose Ignacio Salafranca, Gabriel Mato Adrover and Esteban Gonzalez Pons, who were turned away after travelling at the invitation of the Venezuelan opposition leader, Juan Guaido.
Following last year’s heavily criticised election where Mr. Maduro was elected for a second term, a number of countries, including Ireland, have recognised Mr. Guaido as the interim head of state in recent weeks.
Mr. Kelly made the following comments in Brussels today (Monday): “The Venezuelan authorities’ actions are unacceptable. My four EPP colleagues were travelling as part of a parliamentary mission to express solidarity with the people of Venezuela and to advocate for free, fair and democratic elections.
“In light of the already worrisome situation in Venezuela, my colleagues’ visit was to be an important step in establishing the EU’s support and promoting respect for the democratic process.
“Instead they were denied entry and had their passports confiscated on arrival. Refusing entry to EU elected representatives, on the grounds that they were ‘intervening’ in Venezuelan political issues is a cause for concern.
“I strongly condemn the measures taken by the Venezuelan government and urge them to grant access to my colleagues immediately.”