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EU undermining itself with move on Russian assets – veteran diplomat to RT

The effectively illegal decision will further erode the international legal system, Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos believes

The EU’s decision to take the profits generated by Russia’s frozen central bank assets and send them to Ukraine undermines the bloc itself and has serious implications for the international legal system, former Greek diplomat and ambassador Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos has told RT. 

The controversial move to seize €1.4 billion ($1.5 billion) in revenues accrued by the assets was announced by the EU’s foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell, on Monday. According to Borrell, the bloc has agreed on “the legal framework” for the step. Borrell also claimed that how the funds will be used cannot be blocked by Hungary, a staunch opponent of seizing Russia’s immobilized assets, since it did not participate in the decision in the first place. 

The EU has no legal capacity to implement the decision whatsoever, and a true international consensus should be required for such a step, Chrysanthopoulos said, arguing that this is bound to damage the bloc itself.

“The EU again is undermining itself by what it is doing. First of all, if this world was a civilized world, you would need a decision of the Security Council or a decision of the International Court of Justice to go ahead and take such measures. But according to international law, [such measures] are illegal now,” the veteran diplomat argued. 

Moving forward with availing itself of the Russian assets despite Hungary’s opposition carries the risk of destroying the whole EU, Chrysanthopoulos warned. The existing veto system and the requirement to universally agree on important decisions, such as sanctions, are the mechanisms that ensure “that the EU still functions,” he said.

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FILE PHOTO: EU High Representative Josep Borrell
EU to send €1.4bn in Russian money to Ukraine – Borrell

Budapest is “absolutely right that it has crossed the red lines. And I presume that [Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor] Orban will raise the issue at the European Council that will be held in a few days. Because… the argument used by other states was that since Hungary does not participate in these measures, they cannot block them. That’s ridiculous. You can do this for everything,” Chrysanthopoulos said. 

The decision ultimately undermines the “whole global economy” and the EU’s own investment climate, Chrysanthopoulos suggested. 

“After this war is over, many countries will be very, very reluctant to make investments in other countries, knowing that their investments may be frozen on a moment’s notice,” he said. “And this undermines the euro and European government bonds as a store of value for other central banks in the world. And this will reduce in the near future investments from other countries like the BRICS [group],” Chrysanthopoulos explained.

June 26, 2024 at 03:14AM

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