The European Union has issued a warning to Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro, whose country is gearing up for presidential and parliamentary elections next month. Calling for “free, transparent and credible elections,” the EU announced it is “ready to react through appropriate measures” to any decision or action that might undermine democracy in the country.

In a statement, the EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the bloc called on Maduro’s government to “ensure free, transparent and credible elections that allow the participation of all political parties under equal conditions”.

Venezuela’s main opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) party has already announced it will boycott the presidential vote unless the government guarantees free and fair elections.

As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, Mogherini said the EU “deeply regrets” that elections have been convened without a wide agreement on the electoral calendar nor on the conditions for a credible and inclusive electoral process.

He also said that the recent decision of the National Electoral Council to limit participation of parties that present candidates for the presidential elections in local and regional elections was a “further blow” to the credibility of the election process.

These actions “will only exacerbate polarisation and create more obstacles to a peaceful political solution,” the statement said.