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EU Reacts Cautiously To Venezuela Crisis

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini. File photo

European Union leaders reacted cautiously Thursday to Venezuelan crisis, with varying responses ranging from calls for credible elections by foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to calls for Nicholas Maduro to step down.

Portugal's foreign minister called for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to "understand that his time has come to an end," after opposition leader Juan Guaido claimed the country's presidency.

But no European country has yet recognized the chairman of Venezuela’s national assembly Juan Guaido as the country’s legitimate president. Instead Britain and Spain voiced support for him as the head of “democratically elected” parliament.

They also questioned Maduro’s legitimacy, calling his latest election as neither free nor fair.

French President Emmanuel Macron also called into question the May 2018 election as "illegitimate" and saluted the bravery of Venezuelans who are demanding freedom.

In a tweet on Thursday in French and Spanish, Macron added his own voice to the European Union's declared support for the restoration of democracy.

Macron said that he "salutes the courage of hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans marching for their liberty."

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez held talks on Venezuela with Latin American leaders in the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Sanchez's office also said the leader has scheduled a phone call with Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido.