EU approves plan to use frozen Russian assets to aid Ukraine — report

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen

The European Council has approved a framework agreement to direct billions in revenue from frozen Russian assets towards Ukraine aid, the Financial Times reported on Oct. 27.

Western sanctions have frozen $300 billion of Russia’s Central Bank. Out of these assets, EUR 180 billion ($190 billion) is held in the world's largest securities depository, Euroclear, in Brussels.

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“We are currently working on an initial proposal to focus on the so-called windfall profits,” said European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

“These windfall profits are already quite substantial. The idea is that we pool them and channel them, through the EU budget… to Ukraine.”

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Two high-ranking officials also said that the European Commission will present a plan in early December to ease the transfer of revenues from frozen assets to Ukraine. Brussels maintains regular contact with London and Washington to synchronize approaches, added FT sources.

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Euroclear recently reported that it received a EUR 3 billion profit from frozen Russian assets just in the first nine months of 2023 (compared to EUR 347 million over the same period in 2022 due to rising interest rates).

According to the report, some member countries, such as Germany, were "skeptical of these plans due to legal problems related to property rights." But fears were allayed when the idea of extracting “windfall” revenues was endorsed by U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. The plans were also approved by the G7.

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