EU plans to tax frozen Russian assets without confiscation, reports Bloomberg
Prosecutor General of Ukraine Andriy Kostin and European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders, press conference on the eve of the Freezing and Confiscation Task Force conference in Brussels, February 17, 2023 (Photo: EPA/ OLIVIER HOSLET)

The European Union is considering imposing a windfall tax on the frozen assets of the Central Bank of Russia, as reported by Bloomberg. However, the plan does not involve confiscating the funds. Some countries within the EU, including Germany, have explicitly expressed opposition to the arrest of Russian assets on legal grounds, according to the publication citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter.

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Sources indicate that EU foreign ministers granted their "political blessing" for the introduction of a tax on unforeseen profits on January 22, 2024. They noted that this issue will be discussed by the ambassadors of the EU member countries later this week

EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell informed journalists that progress was made on the windfall tax during the meeting of foreign ministers, and discussions will continue.

Belgian Finance Minister Vincent Van Peteghem commented to Bloomberg, expressing confidence that the discussions on this matter will yield results.

However, according to sources, a group of countries, including Germany, made it clear that they are "opposed to the confiscation of Russian assets on legal grounds." Earlier, Reuters referred to Belgium, Germany, and France as a group of countries hindering Ukraine from accessing funds from frozen Russian assets.

The spokesperson for the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to a request for comment, as reported by the publication.

Overall, Ukraine's allies agree that Russia should pay for the damages caused by the war. Ambassador of Belgium to the United States, Jean-Arthur Regibeau, stated on January 22, according to Bloomberg, that Western countries should collectively decide on the confiscation of frozen Russian assets, two-thirds of which are held in the Euroclear settlement center in Brussels.

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