The European Union has so far frozen about 23 billion euros from the Russian Central Bank. EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders announced this at a press conference on Wednesday. This amount is much lower than initially expected.
According to Russia, sanctions imposed worldwide have frozen about $300 billion from the Russian Central Bank. Less than a tenth of these are in Europe. So Reynders said the amount is small compared to the amount the United States has frozen, about $100 billion.
Reynders did not explain during the press conference why the European Union, the third largest economy in the world, is freezing so little Russian money. He also declined to say whether all EU governments had reported the freeze. Many EU governments have been reluctant to impose sanctions and some countries are still blocking them.
Russian oil boycott
For example, the European Union has been trying for some time to persuade Hungarian Prime Minister Orban to boycott oil from Russia, but the Hungarian government is against imposing a complete ban on Russian oil imports this year or next. Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria are also asking for more time to transition to alternative energy sources.
In addition to the freezing of Russian funds, about 10 billion euros of physical assets within the European Union, such as villas and yachts owned by officials and oligarchs linked to the Kremlin, were frozen.
This article is also part of our live blog: EU freezes €23 billion in Russian assets, less than expected
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