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16126/03 (Presse 375) 1EN

Brussels, 22 December 2003
16126/03 (Presse 375)
P 146/03

Declaration by the Presidency, on behalf of the European Union, on signatures collection for referenda in Venezuela

The European Union expresses its satisfaction for the fact that the processes of signatures collection aimed at the celebration of recall referenda, as provided for by the Venezuelan Constitution, took place in an atmosphere of tolerance and restraint. The Venezuelan people has confirmed its readiness to implement the political agreement signed on 29 may 2003 by the Government and the Coordinadora Democratica, in order to promote a pacific, democratic and constitutional solution to the political crisis.

The European Union trusts that next steps of this process will remain within the rule of law and democratic principles. The EU calls on all parties to fully respect the impartial role of the Consejo Nacional Electoral in complying with its duties and to abide by its decisions taken in accordance with the constitutional framework.

The European Union welcomes the co-operation the CNE has established with the Organisation of American States, which reaffirms the commitment of the International Community in contributing to the democratic development of Venezuela.

The EU reasserts its offer to provide financial and technical assistance for the implementation of the agreement of 29 May.

The Acceding Countries Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia, the Associated Countries Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey and the EFTA countries, members of the European Economic Area align themselves with this declaration.