Seize, not freeze: EU outlines plans for Russian assets

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Samizdat – October 25, 2022

The EU seeks to outright confiscate Russian assets rather than just freeze them, but the bloc has yet to lay the legal groundwork for doing so, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Tuesday.

The official delivered her remarks during a conference devoted to the rebuilding of Ukraine, which was attended by a number of Kiev’s prominent international donors.

“Our aim is not only to freeze, but to seize the assets,” she said, although cautioning that establishing a legal base for such a move is “not trivial.”

According to von der Leyen, the EU has created a task force that includes various international experts “not only to map out what has been frozen,” but also to see what the legal preconditions would be for seizing Russian assets and using them for the reconstruction of Ukraine.

“The will is there, but legally it is not trivial, there is still a lot of work to reach that goal,” she reiterated, noting that the EU adheres to the rule of law, and therefore this process has to be “legally sound.”

Responding to von der Leyen’s remarks, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that in reality the EU Commission president wants Russia to “exhaust itself being dragged through courts” while trying to retrieve its funds.

During the conference, von der Leyen stated that the World Bank had estimated the cost of the damage to Ukraine at €350 billion ($345 billion). Meanwhile, after Russia launched its military campaign in Ukraine in late February, a multinational task force froze $30 billion in funds belonging to Russian individuals, as well as $300 billion in assets of Russia’s central bank.

Russia strongly criticized the freezing of the funds, with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying that the West had essentially committed theft.

Western officials have repeatedly expressed the desire to confiscate Russian assets to benefit Ukraine. However, in July, during another conference on rebuilding Ukraine, Swiss President Ignazio Cassis opposed such a move, arguing that it would establish a dangerous precedent.

“You have to ensure the citizens are protected against the power of the state. This is what we call liberal democracies,” he said at the time.

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2 Responses to “Seize, not freeze: EU outlines plans for Russian assets”

  1. sovereigntea says:

    Hugely significant moves in China Video of public humiliation of pro US Hu Jintao at CPC party conference

    Among other changes to the CPC statute were the tasks of transforming the country’s army into one of the strongest in the world, as well as provisions to oppose the independence of Taiwan. For China’s modern political system, this is not just a show of intent, but a clear Party task that must be fulfilled at all costs.

    “The Communist Party of China always implements its decisions.”

    Accordingly, failure to resolve the Taiwan issue, for example, would be a failure of Party policy, which is unacceptable to the new political leadership. The soft period of Chinese diplomacy is over.

    A public demonstration of the new course was the incident with former Party General Secretary Hu Jintao, who was forcibly escorted out of the hall just before the end of the event. The politician only looked around in confusion, but found no support from his colleagues.

    Hu Jintao advocated maintaining good relations with the U.S., and was also an opponent of a military solution to the Taiwan issue. Such a former CPC Chairman’s escorting out of the hall is a clear demonstration of the renewed anti-Western foreign policy of Beijing, which, apparently, is ready for any measures, defending its sovereignty and the role of a superpower in the modern world.

    Also Premier Li Keqiang, chairman of the National People’s Congress Li Zhanshu, chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Council Wang Yang, and Vice Premier Han Zheng will step down from the CPC Political Bureau.

    This is a pluralistic paradigm shift in development and a renewal of the state policy. It is becoming more nationally oriented, ideologized, rigid, and unequivocally anti-American.

  2. Belyi says:

    I’m sure that Russia would be in total agreement for this money to be used to repair the damage that has been inflicted on eastern Ukraine since 2014.