Greece and Malta are lagging behind their counterparts in the European Union in freezing Russian assets that have been sanctioned due to Moscow’s war against Ukraine. This is a conclusion from an EU official and an internal report, as the union considers using the assets to help Ukraine.
The 27 EU nations have so far reported freezing almost €20.3 billion worth of Russian assets that have been sanctioned. Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Austria have each reported more than €1 billion seized.
According to a report from the EU’s executive European Commission that Reuters has access to, nearly every other EU nation has frozen millions of dollars’ worth of assets.
Greece and Malta’s response
In defense of their efforts on sanctions, Greece and Malta Greece acknowledged that it had informed the union that assets worth €220,000 had been frozen. Malta claimed to have frozen €222,000, as opposed to the EU document’s €147,000 total.
According to a representative of the Greek government, the €212,000 used up all the assets Athens had listed in accordance with the EU sanctions list. The source said, “Greece’s investment environment does not favor the inflow of Russian funds and offshore enterprises.”
A spokeswoman for the Maltese prime minister said that Malta has assisted other European nations in seizing assets, such as yachts technically located in other countries but registered in Malta.
A decline in Malta’s commerce with Russia further demonstrated Valletta’s commitment to complying with EU policies, the spokesman said, adding that Malta has put in a lot of effort in support of the joint European initiatives.
Malta stopped selling passports to Russian nationals
Malta announced last March that it was ending the sale of passports to applicants from Russia and Belarus after years of wrangling with the EU. Beneficiaries who invested about €1 million had full access to the EU as a result of the program.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine almost a year ago, the EU may have used up all of the severe economic penalties that its 27 member nations are ready to inflict.
Any new sanctions against Russia may include more specific listings, according to Sweden, the current president of the EU.
Frozen Russian assets might be used for the reconstruction of Ukraine
This year, the question of whether to use frozen Russian assets to assist in the reconstruction of Ukraine has come to the attention of the EU. At issue in this decision might be assets held by the Russian central bank in Europe valued at an estimated €300 billion.
There isn’t much legal precedent, and some member states have expressed worry about the possibility of legal action.
Additionally, the EU is seeking to make circumventing sanctions a crime in its member states, and an EU official anticipated progress in both areas before the EU-Ukraine summit in Kyiv in February.