Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's threat to shut off oil exports to EU countries if they enforce tough new immigration rules is "absolutely disproportionate," EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said Friday.
"In my opinion it is absolutely disproportionate," Solana told journalists during a European Union summit in Brussels.
Leftist Venezuelan leader Chavez threatened Thursday to shut off oil exports to European countries and kick out their investments if they enforce strict new EU rules on illegal immigrants.
"Our petroleum should not go to these European countries" that apply the new laws, Chavez said at a press conference in Caracas.
Just as European nations could return undocumented immigrants to their country of origin, Latin American countries could also decide "the return of European investments," Chavez said.
The EU adopted tough new rules Wednesday on illegal immigrants, allowing detention for up to 18 months prior to expulsion -- a move that angered human rights groups.
The measures, which could come into force in 2010, will oblige authorities in the 27 EU nations to choose between issuing residency or other permits to the estimated half a million people coming in illegally each year, or returning them to their countries of origin.