Major EU states drag heels on releasing Russian assets to aid Ukraine's defense – Reuters
Ukraine and the EU (Photo: EPA)

Next week the European Commission should approve a legal proposal on the use of income from Russian assets frozen under sanctions in connection with Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported, citing EU officials and diplomatic sources. At the same time, several countries are inhibiting the quick receipt of these funds by Ukraine.

It is expected that the draft law will be adopted on December 12, two days before the final summit of the 27 EU leaders, sources claim.

However, according to the news agency agency, Ukraine should not wait for instant good news about receiving funds from frozen Russian assets due to the doubts of three key countries – Belgium, Germany and France.

The EU says it has frozen about 21.5 billion euros worth of Russian assets and that another 300 billion euros of Russian central bank funds are frozen in the EU and the G7. About 125 billion euros of this amount are with the Belgian company Euroclear.

According to the agency, the proposal of the European Commission next week will be aimed at introducing standard rules for handling these assets in all EU countries. Its adoption requires the unanimous support of 27 EU member states.

This proposal will clarify the legal obligations of the involved institutions.

Officials said, citing legal risks, governance issues and criticism from the European Central Bank, that the proposal would not include a direct proposal to transfer new revenues from these assets to the EU budget.

According to journalists, EU leaders are not expected to give final approval to the proposal at the summit, but may instruct their governments to do more work on it.

"A group of member states still has legal concerns," a senior EU diplomat said, adding that transferring funds to the EU's central treasury is "nothing that I could see happening in the near future."

On October 28, 2023, the leaders of the EU countries during the summit in Brussels approved the plan, which provides for the use of billions of euros of profits received from frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine.

On November 15, the Czech government decided to freeze all Russian state assets.

On December 1, Switzerland froze financial assets belonging to Russian citizens and companies worth 7.7 billion Swiss francs ($8.81 billion) as part of sanctions for military aggression against Ukraine.

On December 7, British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said that he supports the idea of using Russian assets to restore Ukraine.