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EU agrees on 9th round of sanctions against Russia


EU leaders gathered in Brussels for their last meeting of 2022 and ended the year much as it started, with a meeting focused on Russia's war in Ukraine.

At a European Council summit in Brussels on Thursday, December 15, the EU imposed fresh sanctions (its 9th round of sanctions) on Moscow despite disagreements over easing the export of Russian agricultural products and fertilizers through European ports.

EU leaders also reached an agreement on a 15% minimum tax on large, multinational businesses.

The agreement will be confirmed in writing today.

Full details were not revealed but the sanctions are expected to include travel bans and asset freezes on close to 200 more Russian officials and military officers, as proposed by the European Commission last week.

The bloc is also likely to ban the delivery of drone engines to both Russia and Iran, which has been accused of providing "kamikaze" drones for deployment against Ukrainian civilian targets.

 Countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium pleaded to be exempt from previous sanctions on importing Russian fertilizer after threatening to hold up the new sanctions.

Poland and some Baltic states were concerned relaxing them would allow Russian oligarchs who own fertilizer businesses to dodge EU sanctions against them.

"Ambassadors agreed in principle on a sanctions package against Russia as part of the EU's ongoing support for Ukraine," the EU's Czech presidency tweeted. 

The bloc also gave its approval to join the international plan, with almost 140 countries signed up, to set a minimum tax rate of 15% on multinational businesses.

 French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday that the EU would have to move more quickly to head off the threat to its industry from planned US subsidies.

Arriving at the EU summit in Brussels, Macron said the leaders would discuss their response to US President Joe Biden's Inflation Reduction Act.

"To maintain fair competition," Macron said, Europe must simplify its own subsidy rules faster "to respond, to be the equivalent of what the Americans have done."

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