Exiting the European Union (Sanctions)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:10 pm on 9th April 2019.

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Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Minister of State 2:10 pm, 9th April 2019

The answer is that we wish there was clearer evidence that they are working. I was at the meeting of European Foreign Ministers yesterday in Luxembourg, where Venezuela was the main topic over lunch. The hon. Gentleman is quite right that 3.6 million people have fled Venezuela. The latest forecast is that the collapse in Venezuela’s economy will exceed that of Zimbabwe’s economic collapse all that time ago and that it will collapse by over 25% this year. We are being very careful to make sure that we target individuals around President Maduro and President Maduro himself, rather than the people who are suffering enough. He will appreciate, as I think the whole House does, that it is a massive challenge to design sanctions that hit the right people and do not hit the wrong people, who are, as I say, suffering enough. Any brilliant ideas he has would be willingly received, but we are working very closely with the EU and the Lima Group to ensure that any properly targeted sanctions we can possibly apply will be applied at the earliest opportunity.