The proposed measure reportedly faced pushback from nearly half of the bloc’s member states
The tenth round of EU sanctions on Russia will not include fines for banks that fail to report frozen Russian assets, Politico reported on Wednesday, citing sources close to the discussions.
According to the report, a group of 13 countries, including Austria, Germany, France and Italy, objected to the move during a meeting on Tuesday, citing the need for legal clarifications “which cannot be solved simply by reviewing a package of sanctions in a few days.”
Opponents of the move questioned the European Commission’s legal power to introduce such fines, and some cited the risk of administrative burdens. Several member-states offered to drop the issue concerning frozen assets from the package under discussion altogether. Talks are set to continue on Thursday.
Earlier this month, reports emerged that Brussels planned to order its banks to provide information about Russian assets they hold as part of the next package of Ukraine-related sanctions. The goal of the move is to map Russia’s frozen funds, including finding out exactly how much of the $300 billion in Russian foreign reserves are held in the bloc.
The measure was to apply to “natural and legal persons, entities and bodies” and require them to report on the whereabouts, market value and type of funds belonging to Russian entities, under threat of fines. The EU wants to use frozen Russian funds for the restoration of Ukraine. However, at present the bloc lacks a legal basis for such a move.
The proposal was part of the EU’s tenth sanctions package against Moscow, and Brussels is eager to adopt it in time to mark the first anniversary of the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, which falls on Friday. However, the package needs unanimous approval from all 27 member states in order to be adopted.
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