The European Commission (EC) said on April 8 that the “Freeze and Seize Task Force” that it set up in March was meeting with US and Ukrainian representatives to discuss international cooperation on the enforcement of sanctions.
The Task Force has been meeting on a regular basis to ensure better coordination of the enforcement of EU sanctions against Russian and Belarusian individuals and companies, the EC said.
One of the aims of the Task Force is to explore the links between assets belonging to persons listed under EU sanctions and criminal activities.
The Task Force had asked all EU countries to share information on the assets frozen so far in their respective jurisdictions.
While work was ongoing and member states were still in the process of compiling and sharing the information, so far, more than half of the EU countries had reported to the EC the measures taken to freeze assets.
“They informed about frozen assets worth 29.5 billion euro, including assets such as boats, helicopters, real estate and artwork, worth almost 6.7 billion,” the EC said.
“In addition, about 196 billion euro of transactions have been blocked,” the Commission said.
The Task Force would continue to meet regularly and the next meeting will take place on April 22, the statement said.
In other news announced on April 8 by the EC in connection with Russia’s war on Ukraine:
The first meeting of the EU Platform for the common purchase of gas, LNG and hydrogen was held on April 7, the EC said.
The meeting was chaired by Director-General for Energy, Ditte Juul Jørgensen, and attended by representatives of the 27 EU countries.
As agreed by the European Council on March 25, the platform will be a voluntary coordination mechanism, bringing together the EC and the member states, supporting the purchase of gas and hydrogen for the Union, by making optimal use of the collective political and market weight of the EU, the statement said.
It will help ensuring security of supply, in particular for the refilling of gas storage facilities in time for next winter, in line with the Commission’s proposal presented on March 23, the EC said.
It will also see to an optimal use of existing gas infrastructure, according to the statement.
“In addition, it will enhance long-term cooperation with key supply partners, extending also to hydrogen and renewables.”
At a virtual event on April 8, telecom operators based in the EU and in Ukraine are expected to sign a joint statement on their coordinated efforts to secure and stabilise affordable or free roaming and international calls between the EU and Ukraine, thd EC said.
The EC and the European Parliament have facilitated this joint statement and will welcome its signature by operators in the EU and Ukraine, including several EU-wide groups, and the association representing several mobile virtual network operators (MVNO Europe).
After a number of spontaneous voluntary initiatives took place, the joint statement aims to establish a more stable framework to help Ukrainians displaced throughout Europe to stay in touch with family and friends back home, the statement said.
The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine had disrupted the lives of millions of Ukrainians, the EC said.
“In the face of this immediate and growing humanitarian crisis, it is essential that Ukrainian refugees have access to affordable connectivity, so that they can stay in touch with their family and friends and that they can use the internet and have access to reliable information.
“The initiative of several telecom operators to waive or reduce international call charges with Ukraine and roaming surcharges for displaced people in Europe is therefore very welcome, and should be put on a broader and sustainable footing,” the EC said.
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