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Germany fears EU plan to use Russian assets for Ukraine’s reconstruction could aid Poland’s WWII damages claim: report

27.06.2023 13:30
Germany has objected to plans by the European Commission to use frozen Russian central-bank assets for the reconstruction of Ukraine, because it fears this would “set a precedent for others to pursue,” such as Poland’s claim for reparations from Germany for World War II, according to a report.

Germany’s objections were detailed in an article by Britain’s Financial Times newspaper on Monday, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s polskieradio24.pl website reported.   

The FT said that the European Commission was working on a plan that “could raise billions of euros” by requiring financial institutions that hold immobilised Russian assets “to hand over some of the profits generated and use them in the rebuilding of Ukraine.”

However, Germany has called for “further reflection” over the proposal, with senior government officials warning that ”a hasty move could stir up legal or financial risks,” the UK newspaper reported.

One German official said the EU plan “opens a can of worms,” according to polskieradio24.pl.

The official stated that if the bloc seized the funds of the Russian central bank or “reaped the proceeds from investing the funds” then it would “set a precedent for others to pursue,” and cited “Poland’s reparation claims against Berlin for damage during World War II,” polskieradio24.pl reported.

A German foreign ministry official was quoted by the FT as saying that Russia “will have to pay for the damage it has caused in Ukraine” and giving assurances that Germany was doing “everything it legally can” to find and freeze “the assets of sanctions-hit Russian individuals and companies.”

At the same time, the official cautioned that the idea of using Russian funds for the reconstruction of Ukraine raised “complex financial and legal questions,” the FT reported. 

Poland demands WWII damages from Germany

In April, Poland’s government adopted a resolution “on the need to regulate, in Polish-German relations, the issue of reparations, compensation and redress” for the losses caused by the German invasion and subsequent occupation of Poland during World War II.

The government said that the document “confirms that the issue of compensation for the damage and harm caused by Germany during World War II has not been settled in the form of an international agreement between the Republic of Poland and the Federal Republic of Germany, and that such an agreement must be entered into.”

In September last year, the Polish government announced that the losses suffered by Poland at the hands of Nazi Germany during World War II totalled PLN 6.22 trillion (EUR 1.3 trillion) and that it would demand compensation from Berlin.

In October, Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau signed a formal note to the government in Berlin, demanding compensation for losses Poland sustained during the war.

According to the German government, "the issue of reparations and compensation for World War II losses remains closed” and Berlin "does not intend to enter into negotiations on the matter," officials have said.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, launching the largest military campaign in Europe since World War II.

Tuesday is day 489 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: ft.com, polskieradio24.pl, wpolityce.pl