I would like to begin by broaching an issue that brings us great sadness: the situation in Venezuela. As you know last week, on occasion of the massive marches against the regime, the President of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, proclaimed himself ad-interim President based on the Venezuelan constitution. (Read more)

As you know last week, on occasion of the massive marches against the regime, the President of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, proclaimed himself ad-interim President based on the Venezuelan constitution.

Immediately, a large part of the international community, especially the states of Latin America, recognised him as such.

More than forty deaths and almost 900 arrests have taken place during these protests.

This afternoon and next Saturday, the Venezuelan people will once again be on the streets demanding democracy, freedom and respect for human rights.

The European Parliament, in this legislature, has already stated its position eight times on the situation in Venezuela. No other country has received this kind of attention.

Unfortunately, the situation is worsening and has reached a point of no return.

The Maduro regime has managed to force more than three million people to leave their own country.

This is the most important migratory phenomenon in the history of Latin America.

If things do not change very soon in Venezuela, that will worsen with disastrous consequences for the whole region.

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In the face of last week’s, the European Parliament cannot remain silent.

I spoke with President Guaidó, our only interlocutor, to assure him of the support of the European Parliament.

We have awarded Venezuela's democratic opposition the 2017 Sakharov prize.

We were the first institution to denounce human rights violations, to call for sanctions against the regime and to call for a regional strategy to alleviate the refugee crisis.

Some countries are only interested in oil. We care about the people and the suffering of the Venezuelan population.

When we speak out, we must not only think of a peaceful solution and democratic transition, but also reflect on the reconstruction of the country.

For people to return to a normal life with food and medicine, Venezuela is going to need a lot of help and investment.

The European Union must stand alongside the Venezuelans.

Faced with historical events where democracy is in danger, it is clear that we have to stand alongside freedom and human rights, not oppression.