(Brussels) “The EU strongly calls for the start of an immediate political process leading to free and credible elections, in conformity with the Constitutional order” and “fully supports the National Assembly as the democratically elected institution whose powers need to be restored and respected”. High Representative Federica Mogherini made this declaration “on behalf of the European Union” late last night, 23 January, at the end of a day on which “the people of Venezuela have massively called for democracy and the possibility to freely determine their own destiny”. “These voices cannot be ignored”, Mogherini continued, calling for the civil rights, freedom and safety of all members of the National Assembly and its President, Juan Guaidó, to be respected. “Violence and the excessive use of force by security forces are completely unacceptable”. The European Union supports the right of the Venezuelan people to “peacefully demonstrate, to freely chose its leaders and to decide its future”, and is ready to “support the restoration of democracy and rule of law”. According to the president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, “unlike Maduro, Guaidó enjoys democratic legitimacy”. “Mass demonstrations are a cry for freedom from a people who’ve had enough of the hunger and abuse suffered at the hands of Maduro. They deserve respect”.