The delegation of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine led by Minister of Justice Denys Maliuska held a series of meetings with representatives of the European Commission and the Belgian Government during a working visit to Brussels, Belgium. The main purpose of the meeting was to discuss the issues of freezing and confiscating sovereign assets of the russian federation.
Iryna Mudra, Deputy Minister of Justice of Ukraine, noted that since Belgium took over the presidency of the EU Council on 1 January 2024, key issues related to the use of frozen assets of the russian federation should be resolved in Brussels. “The EU has already done a lot of work to trace and freeze assets located in the jurisdictions of EU countries. It is already known for certain that we are talking about EUR 260 billion, of which EUR 210 billion are in Belgium and Luxembourg,” the Deputy Minister of Justice added.
According to Iryna Mudra, almost all assets are kept on the accounts of large depository institutions such as Euroclear or on the accounts of central or reserve banks. Therefore, it is now important to address political, legal and economic risks. “Representatives of the Belgian Government, Justice and Foreign Ministries have assured us that they will do everything necessary to ensure that the issue of diverting excess profits is resolved during the country’s EU presidency,” she said.
Despite the fact that there is no unanimity in the European Union on the transfer of excess profits from frozen russian assets to Ukraine, foreign partners have expressed support for the Ukrainian side that member states will continue to work in this regard. Thus, the first step has been taken – all russian assets within the jurisdiction of the EU member states have been located and identified. Next, the EU should accumulate the assets in a separate account with Euroclear, which will require the approval of all 27 member states. According to Iryna Mudra, the European Commission promised to complete this stage in an accelerated manner.
During a number of meetings, the parties also discussed the issue of confiscating the body of frozen assets of the russian federation: “The EU is still reluctant to talk about it, as they prefer a step-by-step approach to resolving the issue of asset confiscation. However, the G7 countries are actively working on this issue and there are certain progresses in the adoption of legislation in the United States (bills H.R. 4175 and S. 200),” said the Deputy Minister of Justice.
Ukraine is awaiting the approval of the 13th EU sanctions package and is considering options to prevent sanctions circumvention together with its partners. At the summit on 1 February, EU leaders are expected to decide on a EUR 50 billion financial assistance package for Ukraine for the period of 2024-2027.