The European Union has expressed its displeasure at the resumption of the death penalty at the federal level in the United States. In a statement, the spokesperson of the European External Action Service said:
"The European Union strongly opposes the decision of the United States Department of Justice to resume the federal death penalty after a 17-year hiatus. We urge the U.S. administration to reconsider and not proceed with the federal executions due to take place starting on 13 July. This decision runs counter to the overall trend in the United States and worldwide to abolish the death penalty, either by law or in practice.
The European Union strongly opposes the death penalty at all times and in all circumstances. It is a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, incompatible with the inalienable right to life, fails to provide effective deterrence to criminal behaviour, and is irreversible. The European Union stands firmly and unequivocally by the victims of crimes and their families, and supports the application of effective, non-lethal punishments. The European Union will continue to work towards a universal abolition of the death penalty."
The European Union has long promoted the abolishment of the death penalty world wide. All EU member states abolished the death penalty, as did all the member states of the Council of Europe. Abolishing the death penalty was a condition for Russia and other former Soviet Republics to join the Council after 1991.
In a terse statement issued in Brussels on Sunday evening (9 August) EU Foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell described the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean as "extremely worrying".