EU Reactions to Russian War against Ukraine: Overview November – December 2022
This news item continues the reporting on key EU reactions following the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022: the impact of the invasion on the EU’s internal security policy, on criminal law, and on the protection of the EU’s financial interests. The following overview covers the period from the beginning of November 2022 to the end of the year 2022. For overviews of the developments from February 2022 to mid-July 2022 → eucrim 2/2022, 74-80; for the developments from the end of July 2022 to the end of October 2022 → eucrim 3/2022, 170-171.
- 8 November 2022: The Economic and Financial Affairs Council gives political guidance on a more structural solution for the EU’s financial assistance for Ukraine in 2023. The ministers underline the urgency of this issue and favour a framework providing the predictability and flexibility to allow the Commission to mobilise resources via bond issuance and within agreed budgetary limits.
- 9 November 2022: Building on previous Macro-Financial Assistance packages, the Commission proposes a support package for Ukraine of up to €18 billion for 2023: the Macro-Financial Assistance+ (MFA+) instrument. By means of stable, regular, and predictable financial assistance (instead of providing assistance on an ad-hoc basis), the MFA+ would help cover a significant part of Ukraine's short-term funding needs in 2023. The funds would be provided through highly concessional loans to be repaid over the course of maximum 35 years, starting in 2033. The MFA+ instrument would be accompanied by reforms to help Ukraine move forward to becoming a member of the EU. To secure funds for the loans, the Commission proposes borrowing on capital markets using a diversified funding strategy.
- 11 November 2022: The Commission announces that, together with the support by the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the World Bank, around €1 billion will be mobilised for the EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes. The Solidarity Lanes were established in May 2022 as part of a common response to Russia's military aggression in order to ensure the export of Ukraine's agricultural goods and the export/import of other goods, so that a lifeline for Ukraine's economy could be maintained.
- 15 November 2022: The Council launches the European Union Military Assistance Mission in support of Ukraine (EUMAM Ukraine) to assist Ukraine in the face of the ongoing Russian war of aggression. The aim of the mission is to enhance the military capability of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in order to allow them to defend Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty within its internationally recognised borders as well as to protect the civilian population. EUMAM Ukraine has a non-executive mandate to provide individual, collective, and specialised training to up to 15,000 Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel across multiple locations in the territory of EU Member States. In addition, the Council adopts an assistance measure worth €16 million under the European Peace Facility (EPF) to support the capacity building of the Ukrainian Armed Forces by the EUMAM Ukraine.
- 22 November 2022: In its Opinion 7/2022 on the Commission's new borrowing strategy for financial aid to Ukraine, the European Court of Auditors warns that the future financial needs of the EU could be affected if the EU budget "headroom" were to cover the risk of a default in Ukraine. This is particularly since there are currently no plans to increase the size of the headroom accordingly.
- 23 November 2022: In light of the deliberate attacks and atrocities committed by Russian forces and their proxies against civilians in Ukraine, the destruction of civilian infrastructure, and other serious violations of international and humanitarian law, a European Parliament resolution recognises the Russian Federation as a state sponsor of terrorism. MEPs call on the EU and its Member States to put in place a proper legal framework so that the EU can officially designate states as sponsors of terrorism. Russia must be added to such a list, which would improve the sanctioning of Russia. In the meantime, Russia and Belarus must be put on the EU’s high-risk third country list on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism and Russian-funded armed groups (including the Wagner Group) should be put on the EU’s terrorist list. Moreover, the EP urge the EU to adopt further measures that will isolate Russia internationally.
- 24 November 2022: The European Parliament approves the MFA+ package and therefore the €18 billion loan for Ukraine for 2023.
- 30 November 2022: The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, issues a statement on Russia's accountability and the use of Russian frozen assets. She acknowledges that Russia must pay for its crimes, in particular for its crime of aggression against a sovereign state. Von der Leyen makes clear that Russia and its oligarchs must compensate Ukraine for the damage caused as well as cover the costs for rebuilding the country.
- 30 November 2022: The statement by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (→ supra), is accompanied by a Commission press release, in which different options to Member States are presented with a view to make sure that Russia is held accountable for the atrocities and crimes committed in Ukraine during the war. Due to the fact that the crime of aggression committed by the highest political and military leadership of Russia cannot be prosecuted by the ICC and in order to ensure that justice is served, the Commission proposes two alternate options: (1) a special independent international tribunal based on a multilateral treaty or (2) a specialised court integrated into a national justice system with international judges (a hybrid court). The Commission also proposes creating a new structure to manage frozen and immobilised Russian public assets, invest them, and use the proceeds for Ukraine.
- 6 December 2022: The Economic and Financial Affairs Council adopts one of the three pieces of legislation that aim to provide a structural solution by financially supporting Ukraine in 2023: an amendment to the Financial Regulation allowing the financing of the macro-financial assistance to take place within the so-called diversified funding strategy.
- 8 December 2022: The Council adopts a decision that the EU will not accept Russian travel documents issued in, or to persons resident in, Russian-occupied regions in Ukraine or breakaway territories in Georgia. Such documents will not be recognised as valid documents for visa or crossing the borders in the Schengen area.
- 9 December 2022: The Council adopts its conclusions on the fight against impunity in Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine (→ separate news item).
- 10 December 2022: The Council adopts the remaining two pieces of the legislative package that will enable the EU to financially help Ukraine with €18 billion throughout 2023. The approval concerns the MFA+ and amendments to the MFF. As a result, the Council paved the way for a better structural financial support to Ukraine in 2023. Prior to the meeting, the Hungarian government, which initially vetoed the legislation, dropped its opposition.
- 12 December 2022: The Council approves new conclusions on Iran in the light of Iran's military cooperation with Russia, including the delivery of drones deployed by Russia in its war against Ukraine. The Council also adds four persons and four entities to the list of those subject to restrictive measures for undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence of Ukraine. This came in view of their role in the development and delivery of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) used by Russia in the war.
- 15 December 2022: The European Council adopts conclusions on Russia's military aggression against Ukraine, EU support to Ukraine and the consequences of the war for energy and economy as well as security and defense (→ separate news item).
- 16 December 2022: The Council formally adopts the ninth package of economic and individual sanctions against Russia. A prior dispute among Member States over possible undesirable side effects of sanctions was settled. The new measures intend to step up pressure on Russia and its government after having intensified hits against civilians and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine. The ninth package significantly expands the list of entities connected to Russia's military and industrial complex by an additional 168 entities, which will restrict free trade of dual-use goods and technology. Regarding the banking sector, the Russian Regional Development Bank and two other Russian banks are added on the list that allows asset freeze and fully bans financial transactions. Furthermore, EU nationals will now be forbidden from holding any posts on the governing bodies of all Russian State-owned or controlled legal persons, entities or bodies located in Russia. In order to fight the Russian Federation's systematic, international campaign of disinformation and information manipulation, the Council initiated the process to suspend the broadcasting licences of four additional media outlets: NTV/NTV Mir, Rossiya 1, REN TV, and Pervyi Kanal. Regarding energy, the EU prohibits new investments in the Russian mining sector. In addition to these economic sanctions, the ninth package puts nearly 200 additional individuals and entities on the list for restrictive measures against individuals affiliated with the Russian regime. Concerned individuals/entities include the Russian armed forces as well as individual officers and companies in the defence industry, members of the State Duma and the Federation Council, ministers, governors, and political parties. The list thus includes individuals who play a key role in Russia's brutal, deliberate missile attacks against civilians, the abduction of Ukrainian children to Russia and the theft of Ukrainian agricultural products.
- 1 January 2023: The new incoming Swedish Council Presidency (1 January - 30 June 2023) confirms as one of its political priorities that it will consistently continue the sanctions against Russia due to the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 as well as the military and economic support to Ukraine. In this context, the security architecture of the EU is also to be strengthened.