Brussels has declared person not grateful to the Venezuelan ambassador to the European Union in retaliation for the expulsion of the European ambassador in Caracas. The decision marks another step in the escalation of tension between Brussels and the Nicolás Maduro regime since the legislative elections in Venezuela on December 6, the result of which was not recognized by the EU, the US or many Latin American countries.
The community decision was announced this Thursday at the end of the first day of a European summit by videoconference in which European leaders have analyzed the evolution of the pandemic and some international tensions.
“At the initiative of the High Representative for Foreign Policy of the EU [Josep Borrell], the Council today agreed [jueves] that the head of the mission of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the EU be declared a person not grateful”, The Council of the EU announced in a statement. The same text specifies that it is “a response to the decision of the Venezuelan Government to declare a not grateful to the head of the EU delegation in Venezuela ”.
“The European Union considers that this declaration is completely unjustified and is contrary to the Union’s objective of developing relations and building partnerships in third countries,” the text adds.
Venezuela last Wednesday ordered the expulsion of the EU ambassador, the Portuguese Isabel Brilhante, and granted her a period of 72 hours to leave the country. The Minister of Foreign Relations, Jorge Arreaza, in charge of communicating the decision, also delivered a protest note to the representatives of Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands, a frequent threat from the regime to claim its sovereignty.
The Maduro government had already ordered the expulsion of the EU ambassador in June last year, but finally canceled it at the request of Brussels. On this occasion, the Union had also asked Caracas to reconsider the expulsion. But in just 48 hours, it has responded by withdrawing the diplomatic status of Claudia Salerno Caldera, Venezuelan ambassador to the EU, Belgium and Luxembourg.
Community sources indicate that Salerno Caldera could remain in Belgium. But without its diplomatic status for EU purposes.