The European Union's confiscation of billions of euros in interest payments stemming from frozen Russian assets is reminiscent of communism, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó told RIA Novosti on Thursday.
The European Union is facing increasing pressure from the United States and its allies to find ways to seize hundreds of billions of euros of frozen Russian sovereign funds.
Asked whether Hungary would support the initiative to use profits generated from financial assets owned by the Russian Central Bank and now frozen by the European Union, Szijjártó said the idea reminded him of how the communists used to confiscate assets from people in Hungary.
“These types of actions usually turn on warning lights in our minds that the communist heritage is not what we would like to see in our day and age.” He added that Budapest had not heard any concrete plans on how to implement this initiative. “If it is available, we will definitely look into it and discuss it.” He said.
Last week, it was revealed that the largest holder of frozen Russian assets, Belgium-based clearing house Euroclear, collected nearly 4.4 billion euros ($4.74 billion) last year in net interest earnings from funds held in sanctioned Russian accounts. . Euroclear is estimated to own €196.6 billion in Russian assets, most of which are owned by the country's central bank.
In total, the United States and its allies froze an estimated $300 billion in Russian assets at the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict in February 2022.
EU ambassadors have agreed on the idea of using profits from sanctioned assets to support Ukraine, the Belgian presidency of the EU Council announced following a January summit in Brussels, although nothing has been officially implemented yet.
The United States is demanding the confiscation of Russian funds, while $60 billion in aid to Ukraine has been suspended in Congress. However, the European Union approved a €50 billion aid package for Kiev over the next four years, after Hungary withdrew its veto due to pressure from Brussels.
While the Russian Central Bank has been in the process of weaning itself off the dollar and euro and switching to the Chinese yuan and gold since US sanctions in 2018, significant holdings of the dollar, euro, pound sterling, Japanese yen and others have been frozen in 2022.
The head of the Russian Central Bank, Elvira Nabiullina, said that the seizure of profits from frozen Russian funds, as well as the seizure of the funds themselves, would reduce the attractiveness of the euro and the dollar as a reserve currency in the international arena. .