Belgium freezes highest amount of Russian assets of all EU countries

Belgium freezes highest amount of Russian assets of all EU countries
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo pictured on Triokhsviatytelska street in the city center of Kyiv. Credit: Belga/ Philip Reynaers

Since the start of the Russian war in Ukraine, the Belgian treasury has frozen €58 billion worth of Russian assets, the highest amount of any EU Member State.

As part of the sanctions packages issued by the European Commission — the 27 EU countries agreed on the tenth on Friday night — Belgium has prided itself in applying these sanctions quickly and strictly. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, it has frozen €58 billion worth of Russian assets and blocked €191 billion euros of Russian financial transactions.

"The war in Ukraine is lasting longer than we all thought and feared. A strict follow-up of the economic sanctions measures against Russia, therefore, remains crucial," said Vincent Van Peteghem, the Federal Minister of Finance on Friday 24 February, marking exactly one year since Russia invaded Ukrainian territory.

"I am proud that we can count on FPS Finance working on this every day and achieving top results at the European level. Ukraine and our European partners can continue to count on Belgium's strict implementation and application of these sanctions."

In total, the measures adopted by Belgium have affected 1,789 blacklisted Russian companies or citizens, Van Peteghem noted.

Customs, for its part, faced a sharp increase in the number of checks on imports and exports, resulting in a total of 91,020 declarations already being checked and 7,925 containers were also physically checked vis-à-vis Russia and Belarus, upon which sanctions have also been imposed for its involvement in the invasion.

Related News

The services also carried out checks on transhipment (the transferring of containers from one means of transport to another) and requested additional information for 28,890 containers. Currently, 529 containers are blocked awaiting more information, 517 of them in Antwerp and 12 in Zeebrugge.

Another 10,000 cars were also checked in Zeebrugge last year. Of these, 1,087 were not allowed to be shipped to Russia. Finally, the FPS Finance handed over 19 official reports to the public prosecutor for violations of imports and exports, and 15 other official reports are in preparation.

EU-coordinated sanctions

Van Peteghem also advocated close coordination within the EU on the application of sanctions, adding that the FPS is also in constant contact with the European Commission and other member states.

Meanwhile, at the request of Belgium, the G7 is preparing a ban on the export of rough and polished diamonds from Russia to G7 countries, which will likely pave the way for a boycott on one of the following European sanctions lists.

[custom-related-posts title="Related Posts" none_text="None found" order_by="title" order="ASC"]

"Given the significant revenues that Russia extracts from the export of diamonds, we will work collectively on further measures on Russian diamonds, including rough and polished ones, working closely to engage key partners," the G7's leader statement of Friday read. The new plan will focus on traceability, requiring a certificate to show the origin of the diamond.

Copyright © 2024 The Brussels Times. All Rights Reserved.