EU exploring ways to use Russian oligarchs’ frozen assets to rebuild Ukraine

"Our lawyers are working intensively on finding possible ways of using frozen assets of the oligarchs for the rebuilding of Ukraine. I think Russia should also make its contribution," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told ZDF television. [EPA-EFE/Bo Amstrup]

The European Union is looking into ways of using the frozen assets of Russian oligarchs to fund the reconstruction of Ukraine after the war, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday (19 May).

The Commission proposed on Wednesday a €9 billion loan to Ukraine to keep the country going as it struggles to fend off the Russian invasion and wants to set up a reconstruction facility for after the war.

“Our lawyers are working intensively on finding possible ways of using frozen assets of the oligarchs for the rebuilding of Ukraine. I think Russia should also make its contribution,” she told ZDF television.

Although the proposal is controversial, billions worth of oligarchs’ assets, and around $300 billion worth of Russian Central Bank reserves could be made available.

In a recent interview, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner showed himself open to the idea of using the seized Russian reserves for the reconstruction of Ukraine.

Von der Leyen also said she favoured coupling the long-term reconstruction of Ukraine with reforms needed for it to join the European Union.

While Ukrainians see their future within the EU, certain standards have to be met for membership in areas such as the rule of law and in the economic and political spheres, she said.

“The accession process depends a lot on how the candidate behaves and what it does. Ukraine wants to join the EU at any price which means the motivation is great to undertake the reforms that are needed,” she said.

“We will have to co-finance the reconstruction of Ukraine … it makes sense to tackle reforms at the same time, for example against corruption or building up the rule of law,” she said.

EU Commission proposes Ukraine reconstruction platform

Along with a €9 billion increase in short-term budgetary aid to the Ukrainian government, the European Commission proposed on Wednesday (18 May) setting up a reconstruction platform for Ukraine to help with the massive financing needs of rebuilding the country.

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