EU gives “in principle” agreement to use frozen Russian assets

This agreement will still need to be confirmed at the level of ministers from 27 member states before coming into force.


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The building which houses the European Commission, in Brussels (Belgium), April 30, 2024. (DURSUN AYDEMIR / ANADOLU / AFP)

These sums, which represent around 210 billion euros, come from packages of sanctions successively adopted by the European Union in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Twenty-Seven reached Wednesday, May 8, “agreement in principle” on the use of income from Russia’s frozen assets, the Belgian EU presidency announced on X. “This money will be used to support the military defense and reconstruction of Ukraine,” she declared after a meeting of member state ambassadors in Brussels.

This agreement, which must still be confirmed at the level of EU ministers, comes after long and bitter debates on how to use the Russian state assets blocked after the launch of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia,

According to the adopted plan, 90% of the seized revenues will go to the European Peace Facility (EFF), which finances arms purchases, crucial at a time when kyiv is demanding munitions and air defense systems to contain an army Russian on the offensive. The remaining 10% will go to the EU budget to strengthen the capabilities of Ukraine’s defense industry.

“There could not be a more powerful symbol”, reacts Ursula von der Leyen

As early as March, the European Commission proposed seizing the income produced by these colossal assets in favor of kyiv, estimating that it could thus free up between 2.5 and three billion euros per year. Russia then threatened the EU to take legal action against him “over decades” in the event of use of the income from its frozen assets for the benefit of Ukraine, which would, according to Moscow, amount to a “flight”.

“There could not be a more powerful symbol, nor a better use for this money than [d’y recourir] to make Ukraine and the whole of Europe safer.”immediately greeted the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, in a message on X.

The vast majority of these frozen Russian assets are located in Belgium, where they are administered by Euroclear, an international fund depository organization. This group was able to draw revenues totaling 4.4 billion euros last year – an amount taxed by the Belgian state as corporate tax.

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