EU leaders limit international funding for projects in Russia and Crimea
European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has said that the heads of state and government of the EU countries have limited international funding for projects in Russia and the Crimea by adopting six new measures related to the Ukrainian crisis and Russia's annexation of Crimea.
"At our June summit, we requested four steps on the ground, and we regret that since then they have not been adequately taken," he said at a press conference after an extraordinary EU summit in the early hours of Thursday.
"The flow of weapons and personnel across the borders is uninterrupted and violence continues. There are still no substantial peace negotiations. We also consider that the Russian side has not sufficiently used its influence on the separatists to de-escalate the situation in eastern Ukraine," he said.
Recalling that last week the European Council extended sanctions against Russia, including 11 more people in the list, V an Rompuy announced six new steps, on which the EU leaders agreed at a summit on Wednesday.
First, the EU expands the restrictive measures, with a view to targeting entities, so not only individuals, as it did until now, – entities "that are materially or financially supporting actions undermining or threatening Ukrainian sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence." As an extra element, the European Council was asked to consider possibly targeting individuals or entities who actively provide material or financial support to the Russian decision-makers responsible for the annexation of Crimea or the destabilization of eastern Ukraine.
Second, it was decided to put a brake on European public money flowing into Russia. The EU leaders requested the European Investment Bank to suspend new financing operations of public sector projects in Russia.
Third, the EU countries will coordinate their positions within the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development with the same intention.
Fourth: the European Commission will re-assess bilateral EU-Russia cooperation programs, on a case by case basis, with a view to suspend them. The projects dealing exclusively with civil society and cross border cooperation will be maintained.
The fifth measure is specifically related to Crimea. Because of its illegal annexation by Russia, the EU restricts European investment in Crimea.
Sixth, the EU expects international financial institutions to refrain from financing projects that "explicitly or implicitly recognize the illegal annexation."