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EU adopts cautious approach to Russia's frozen assets - European Commissioner

EU adopts cautious approach to Russia's frozen assets - European Commissioner EU economy commissioner Paolo Gentiloni (Photo:

European Commissioner for Economic Affairs Paolo Gentiloni stated that the European Union is taking a cautious approach to using frozen Russian assets, according to the Financial Times.

Ukraine, the United States, and other allies insist on using frozen Russian state assets worth about $300 billion to help Kyiv defend itself against Moscow's invasion. Most of the assets are frozen in Europe, and members of the EU's Big Seven - France, Italy, and Germany - fear the financial and legal consequences of such an unprecedented step.

One idea, proposed by Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and supported in the United States, suggests creating a special purpose company that would issue debt obligations on behalf of Russia, using these assets as collateral in case the Kremlin refuses to pay for the damage it caused in Ukraine.

The G7 is assessing the legal feasibility of this option. However, it has not received approval from the EU.

"We have a very gradual approach. We go step by step . . . at the moment we took one single decision," the EU Commissioner said, referring to the EU's intention to separate the profit derived from Russian assets to later confiscate them for the benefit of Ukraine.

"Within the G7, we are discussing different scenarios, opinions. We need common decisions and solidarity at G7 level, but at the same time this is especially a European issue, because the assets are mostly here," he emphasized.

The US idea of confiscating and transferring assets to Kyiv gained momentum due to Hungary's blocking of €50 billion in EU assistance to Ukraine, as well as $60 billion in military aid to Kyiv, which is stalled in Congress and is expected to be finalized this week.

But the EU's unanimous decision to assist Ukraine last week and the potential way out of the deadlock in which the US finds itself remove some of the pressure, according to Gentiloni.

"The fact that we decided and possibly the US is also deciding on financial support [for Ukraine] gives us a little bit more time to avoid addressing these issues in a rushed way," he added.

Confiscation of Russian assets

At the end of last year, the Western press wrote that the United States had proposed to G7 countries to confiscate frozen Russian assets worth $300 billion in favor of Ukraine. The initiative was supposed to be agreed upon by February 24, 2024.

Earlier, the Financial Times reported on Belgium's initiative. Brussels proposed a plan to G7 countries to allow the unlocking of frozen Russian assets in Europe.