European Union leaders will maintain high pressure on Russia at this week’s summit, stressing that work on sanctions is under way, according to a draft of their conclusions, while considering whether to include the gold in the next round of sanctions.
Since the start of the invasion of Ukraine in February, the EU has adopted six packages of sanctions against Russia and Belarus, but several areas, including gas, have not been affected as EU governments diligently try to avoid measures that could harm their economy more than that of Russia.
“Work will continue on sanctions, including to strengthen their implementation and prevent them from being circumvented,” EU leaders will say at the end of their regular summit on June 23rd and 24th, according to the latest version. of their draft conclusions dated 20 June, which was seen by Reuters.
The text is a compromise between the Nordic and Eastern countries, on the one hand, which have pushed for a clear reference to a seventh package in the summit declaration, and countries such as Germany and the Netherlands, which insist that the The EU should focus on implementing the existing measures, rather than immediately adding more.
In an earlier version of the text, there was no mention of more work on sanctions, and Reuters notes that the change represents a victory for the clergy. However, the new text does not explicitly mention a seventh package, as Berlin wanted.
Although no new sanctions package is being prepared at the moment, work is continuing to identify areas that could be affected, officials said.
Gold is one of the possible new targets, according to officials familiar with the content of the talks.
At a closed-door meeting of EU envoys last week, Denmark suggested that the next sanctions could be on gold, among other areas, according to a representative of the Danish ambassador to the EU.
A person familiar with the work being done on sanctions told Reuters that the European Commission was working to add gold to a possible next round of sanctions, although it was not yet clear if the measure could ban exports to Russia, imports from Russia or both.
Gold is a critical asset for Russia’s central bank, which, due to Western sanctions, faces restrictions on access to some of its assets located abroad.