Developments in Israel and Gaza overshadowed the EU summit this week, but Ukraine was also high on the agenda, with the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, participating via video call.
– European Council President Charles Michel said after the second and final day of the EU summit on Friday that Ukraine was and will remain a priority for us.
The leaders tasked the European Union’s foreign policy representative and the Commission with coming up with proposals on how Russian assets seized since the all-out invasion of Ukraine could be used in the country’s reconstruction.
The value of these state assets reaches 211 billion euros. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “We agreed politically that Russia must ultimately pay the costs of long-term reconstruction in Ukraine.”
A proposal is now being worked on on how to channel profits from those assets through the European Union budget to Ukraine.
She also stressed that the twelfth sanctions package against Russia is being prepared. Russian diamond trade constitutes an important part of it, and consultations are now underway with member states and with other countries in the G7.
EU leaders also discussed the issue of immigration, including the importance of enforcing deportations of people who do not have the right to remain in the EU. This year, only 22 percent of deportation orders were implemented.
This percentage should increase, said von der Leyen, who wants to see closer cooperation between member states to speed up deportations, at least through joint deportation efforts.
The Heads of State and Government also want to see more cooperation with countries of transit and origin, among other things, to strengthen border control. Meanwhile, von der Leyen promised to introduce a bill to combat migrant smugglers at the end of November.
– The legislation we have in place is 20 years old, so it is time to update it, said Ursula von der Leyen.
The European Union summit also addressed economic issues and the conflict between Serbia and Kosovo, as well as between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
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