Belgium fears impact of European plans on Russian assets

Next week, the European Commission will propose a plan to transfer profits from Russian assets held by Belgian securities giant Euroclear to the Ukrainian facility. But Belgium wants to protect itself against financial instability and is wary of seizing Russian assets, De Tijd reported on Tuesday.

The European Commission is working on a proposal concerning profits from the Russian central bank's assets. These assets have been blocked since the beginning of 2022 as part of sanctions against Russia. The money is parked at Euroclear, a Brussels-based gatekeeper of the global financial system.

The European Commission wants to transfer the money to the Ukraine Facility, a new fund to help rebuild the country and keep its institutions running.

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Euroclear and the Belgian government are closely following the European decision. As a first step, the European Commission has already set aside profits from Russian cash accounts. Until the end of 2027, 15 to 20 billion euros will be available for Kyiv. The pot of 5.2 billion euros accumulated between 2022 and 2024 will not be used retroactively but will serve as a buffer in case the securities giant suffers losses.

100 lawsuits

As De Tijd points out, the process is fraught with considerable risk. There are already more than 100 lawsuits against Euroclear. "With 27,000 financial transactions per hour, the financial stability of the National Bank could be at risk," Belgian financial circles warn. Belgium is therefore calling for an emergency brake to stop the transfer of Euroclear's profits if financial stability is threatened.

Ukraine also wants to use the 190 billion euros in blocked accounts of the Russian central bank held in Euroclear. The Belgian government is calling for agreements within the G7, but this could be a lengthy process. In particular, the European G7 countries fear Russian countermeasures such as the seizure of EU assets or factories and the loss of much larger investors such as China.



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