More European Union sanctions on the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro are on the cards, according to Malta’s foreign minister. But there is no discussion about an oil embargo.
“Our intention is for more sanctions on certain individuals rather than on sectors that might have an effect on the population,” Carmelo Abela told Reuters following a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on February 4.
“Having further [sectoral] sanctions is not excluded but primarily we are focused on certain individuals.”
As reported by Reuters, the EU has imposed (since November 2017) an embargo on exports of weapons and equipment for internal repression, as well as a travel ban and an asset freeze on 18 officials accused of violating rights and undermining democracy.
Experts say EU sanctions, while symbolic, have had little or no impact on Maduro’s policies so far and that oil and financial sanctions may be the only way to force the government to change.
Oil and related products make up three quarters of Venezuela’s exports to the EU, but the bloc is unwilling to take steps that might further worsen an economy already in deep crisis with widespread suffering, reported Reuters.