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2020 meeting between Delcy Rodríguez and José Luis Ábalos, in breach of EU rules

Question écrite de M. Jordi CAÑAS - Commission européenne

Question de M. Jordi CAÑAS,

Diffusée le 16 avril 2024

Subject: 2020 meeting between Delcy Rodríguez and José Luis Ábalos, in breach of EU rules

On 20 January 2020, the Vice-President of Venezuela, Delcy Rodríguez, landed at Barajas airport (Madrid), in defiance of Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/2074 by breaching travel restrictions and entering the Schengen area1. Ms Rodríguez met with the Spanish Government's then Minister of Transport, José Luis Ábalos, and his right-hand man, Koldo García2.

On 11 February 2020 the European Parliament held a debate on infringement of the restrictive measures imposed on Ms Rodríguez, in which the Vice-President / High Representative stated that imposing sanctions for breaches of travel restrictions fell outside the Commission's purview3. Mr García has now revealed that 12 suitcases were removed from the plane and then placed back on it, without disclosing their contents4.

Given that this meeting could be related to the corrupt scheming for which Mr García and Mr Ábalos are being investigated, implicated as they were in the embezzlement of EU funds for the purchase of face masks during the pandemic and for the bail-out of Air Europa:

1. Will the Commission investigate this breach of the aforementioned decision with a view to ensuring that Member States impose appropriate sanctions for violations of travel restrictions?

2. Will it investigate this possible misappropriation of European funds?






Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 16 juin 2024

Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Borrell i Fontelles on behalf of the European Commission (17 June 2024)

1. As already stated in the Commission’s answer to the Honourable Member’s written question of January 2020, with reference E-000421/2020 (5), and by the High Representative/Vice-President Borrell in the debate with the Members of the European Parliament in 2020 mentioned in this question, travel bans are measures of the Common Foreign and Security Policy, for which the Commission cannot open an infringement procedure. This situation has not changed since the first question and that debate.

2. In possible cases of fraud, corruption or any other illegal activity affecting the financial interests of the EU, the Commission refers the matter without delay to the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) or to the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), as appropriate. OLAF analyses incoming information of potential investigative interest to determine whether there are sufficient grounds to open an investigation. OLAF’s investigations are confidential, therefore OLAF does not in general comment on cases it may or may not intend to open. The investigations of the EPPO, which is independent from all the EU institutions and bodies, including the Commission, are likewise confidential.

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