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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR)
News article31 May 2022Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations

Opening remarks by President von der Leyen at the joint press conference with President Michel following the special meeting of the European Council of 30 May 2022


Indeed, we had a very good discussion tonight. And I am very glad that the Leaders were able to agree in principle on the sixth sanctions package. This is very important. Thanks to this, the Council should now be able to finalise a ban on almost 90% of all Russian oil imports by the end of the year. This is an important step forward. We will soon return to the issue of the remaining 10% of pipeline oil. I want to note that other elements in the package are also important. It is the de-SWIFTing of the Sberbank. The Sberbank is the biggest Russian bank, with 37% of the Russian banking sector. So this is good that we now de-SWIFT the Sberbank. There is a ban on insurance and reinsurance of Russian ships by EU companies; a ban on providing Russian companies with a whole range of business services. And, very important, there is the suspension of broadcasting in the European Union of three further Russian state outlets that were very typically spreading broadly the misinformation that we have witnessed over the last weeks and months. And then, we had a very good discussion indeed also on Ukraine. Here, I want to emphasise two elements. It is mainly the financial support that Ukraine needs urgently now. As you know, Ukraine needs by now per month round about EUR 5 billion to maintain the basic services. That is paying pensions, paying salaries and, as I said, the basic services that are necessary. There, we agreed that on one hand we take note of the very good result of the G7 that put USD 9.5 billion already on the table. USD 7.5 billion of those are American contributions, and EUR 1 billion in the G7 by Germany in grants. But we think that, of course, the European Union has to carry its fair share, too. Therefore, we are working on a mechanism to have an extraordinary macro-financial assistance package of EUR 9 billion, on which we will work now in the next week, on how to put it in place. And my last point – but a very important one, too – we discussed intensively the question of the reconstruction of Ukraine. Here, we all know that we will invest; we will have a large amount of work – colossal, as President Zelenskyy said – for the reconstruction of Ukraine. I think that it is important that we are very well organised on that. Therefore, it was good that we could discuss the proposal of the Commission in the Council to create a platform where we can channel all the international initiatives – be it from the OECD, or the G20, or the IMF, or the World Bank, the European efforts, the ones from our American friends, for example – to be clear together on the direction of travel to raise the necessary investment, but also to be very clear that investment comes with reform. Reform of the administrative capacity, the judicial independence, to fight corruption, to create a conducive environment for the business sector. Here, it is important that we really stand together to give Ukraine a fair chance to rise from the ashes and to be able to really leapfrog forward what reconstruction is concerned in investment, but also in the improvement of the state of Ukraine. Thank you.