EU parliament urges member states to recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president

The European Parliament voted to recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate interim president of Venezuela and urged EU leaders to do the same.

The resolution, voted on Thursday, called on the EU leadership to adopt “a strong, unified stance,” and recognize Guaido as the “only legitimate” interim president of the South American nation until new elections are held to “restore democracy.”

The MEPs also pledged “full support” for Venezuela’s opposition-controlled parliament, the National Assembly, urging the EU states to “accredit” the envoys appointed by the opposition.

The document was adopted with 439 votes to 104, with 88 MEPs abstaining.
 
The European Parliament recognises as the legitimate interim President of Venezuela. ??
 

Guaido thanked the European Parliament for the vote. “We made a big step in our fight for democracy,” he wrote on Twitter.

European Union Foreign Affairs Chief Federica Mogherini had earlier promised“full support” for the National Assembly. On Saturday, Germany, France and Spain threatened to recognize Guaido as the nation’s interim president unless the current head of state, Nicolas Maduro, declared a snap election within eight days. 

Maduro firmly rejected the ultimatum, saying that the EU nations have no right to make such demands and the election will take place, as scheduled, in 2025.

Also on rt.com Maduro says next election will take place in 2025, rejects Europe's 8-day ultimatum...

Parliament speaker Juan Guaido declared himself interim president last week, in opposition to Maduro who ruled Venezuela since 2013. Guaido was instantly endorsed by the US and subsequently recognized as the sole legitimate ruler by Canada and the majority of South American countries, including neighboring Colombia and Brazil.

States such as Russia, China, Iran and Turkey continue to recognize Nicolas Maduro as Venezuela’s democratically-elected president. Moscow stressed that all nations should respect Venezuela’s sovereignty and vowed to defend its national interests in the country “with all mechanisms available.”

Over the years, Venezuela has been plagued by a severe economic crisis that led to numerous protests, some of which descended into violent clashes with police. Maduro accused the US of stoking protests against the government, as well as harboring plots to oust or assassinate him.

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If EU parliament resolution to counter Russian media implemented, retaliation will follow – Moscow

If an EU resolution against the Russian media is implemented, Moscow will take retaliatory measures, Russia’s Foreign Ministry has stated.

We hope that the resolution will not entail practical steps on curbing the work of the Russian media,” the Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Maria Zakharova told journalists at a briefing.

There is hope that such steps will not follow, because the adoption of such a document caused massive uproar, for one, in the EU itself.

@RT_com ‘EU betrays own principles’: RT’s editor-in-chief slams ‘free speech doublethink’ http://on.rt.com/7vxs

If this document is applied and implemented to curb the activities of the Russian media on EU member states’ territories, then we will of course take measures in response,” Zakharova added.

READ MORE: EU Parliament approves resolution to counter Russian media ‘propaganda’ 

On Wednesday, the European Parliament voted on a non-legislative resolution which urges the EU to “respond to information warfare by Russia,” with RT and Sputnik news agency branded the most dangerous “tools” of “hostile propaganda.

The document shows “political degradation” regarding the “idea of democracy” in the West, Russian President Vladimir Putin responded, adding that while “everyone tries to lecture” Russia on democracy, Europe wants to implement a policy of restrictions.

Zakharova branded the document as “paranoia” and part of “the ongoing demonization of Russia,” adding that it is filled with “made-up messages, myths,” and reflects “the ideology which has been cultivated towards Russia recently.”

We have repeatedly declared that no anti-European propaganda is carried out from the Russian side. Russia is keen for the EU to be a united, stable, and predictable partner, with which we could develop equal and mutually beneficial cooperation,” she said.

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EU Parliament approves resolution to counter Russian media ‘propaganda’

MEPs in Strasbourg have voted on a non-legislative resolution which calls for the EU to “respond to information warfare by Russia.” RT and Sputnik news agency are alleged to be among the most dangerous "tools" of "hostile propaganda."

The EU Parliament's resolution demonstrates "political degradation" in regard to the "idea of democracy" in the West, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday, commenting on the vote.

Putin pointed out that while "everyone tries to lecture" Russia on democracy, European lawmakers themselves resort to a policy of restrictions, "which is not the best way" to deal with any issues.

"The best approach is an open discussion, in which bright and solid arguments to support one's point of view should be presented," Putin said.

Adding that he hopes the Western move to "counter Russian propaganda" won't lead to serious restrictions, the president congratulated RT and Sputnik journalists on their work.

In the Wednesday vote, 304 MEPs supported the resolution based on the report ‘EU strategic communication to counteract propaganda against it by third parties’, with 179 voting against it and 208 abstaining.

Written by a Polish member of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group, Anna Fotyga, the report alleged that Moscow aims to "distort the truth, provoke doubt, divide the EU and its North American partners, paralyze the decision-making process, discredit the EU institutions and incite fear and uncertainty among EU citizens."

The report suggests that Moscow provides financial support to opposition parties and organizations in EU member states, causing disintegration within the bloc.

At the same time, Russia is accused of "information warfare," with such entities as RT TV channel, Sputnik news agency, Rossotrudnichestvo federal agency and the Russkiy Mir (Russian World) fund alleged to be among its most threatening propaganda "tools."

The document places Russian media organizations alongside terrorist groups such as Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

The report also mentions some "social media and internet trolls" from Russia who are thought to "challenge democratic values."

READ MORE: Finland to host hub combating ‘hybrid’ threats posed by ISIS & Russia – official

It called for the establishment of measures to tackle the perceived Russian propaganda threat, by means of "investing in awareness raising, education, online and local media." It also suggests stronger cooperation between the EU and NATO "on strategic communication."

Sputnik has already appealed to the UN, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and a number of international journalists' organizations and NGOs, including Reporters Without Borders, to take measures to stop what it considers to be interference into freedom of speech in the EU.

"The resolution hits straight at a number of respected media, including Sputnik agency, and has an aim to stop their activity in the EU. Moreover, the resolution bluntly contradicts the  EU's own human rights and freedom of press norms," reads the letter signed by Sputnik Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan.

During the parliamentary debate that preceded the vote, MEPs campaigning for the resolution said the EU was "at war with Russia, on a collision course with each other traveling faster than a jet fighter," and that with an alleged "aim to split Europe, the Kremlin forces its information into our countries."

READ MORE: 'No way': US military bar RT’s video agency from media event in letter likely revealing too much

Before the Wednesday vote, the document had been criticized by some MEPs, who called it both "insane" and "ridiculous." The EU "desperately needs an enemy, be it Russia or any other," that it can blame for any of its own failures, French MEP Jean-Luc Schaffhaueser told RT. Spanish MEP Javier Couso Permuy said "it fosters hysteria against Russia," while British MEP James Carver noted the report is "worryingly reminiscent of the Cold War."

Moscow earlier said it would be forced to take reciprocal steps to the EU lawmakers' "unfriendly actions." Having called the MEPs' move "cynical," the Russian Federation Council member on international affairs, Igor Morozov, said that European lawmakers "should be aware that their unfriendly actions" would cause a "very tough response" from Moscow.

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