Palace of versailles

European leaders conclude a crisis summit at the Palace of Versailles

In an announcement coordinated with the White House, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said On Friday, the EU and the Group of Seven countries will revoke benefits granted to Russia by the World Trade Organization and seek to suspend its membership rights in organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank .

The EU and its allies will also introduce measures to prevent the Russian state and its elites from using crypto assets to evade sanctions, ban the export of luxury goods from the EU to Russia, stop new investments of the EU in the Russian energy sector and block the import of key goods. in the steel industry.

“Russia cannot grossly violate international law and at the same time expect to enjoy the privileges of being part of the international economic order,” von der Leyen said in a statement. declaration.

To support Ukraine’s defence, Josep Borrell, the EU’s top diplomat, said the EU’s executive body had offered to allocate an additional 500 million euros ($546 million) to a unique effort to finance the supply and delivery of weapons. The money would still have to be approved by heads of government.

“I’m sure the leaders will provide that money,” Borrell said. “And it’s gonna be right away, now it’s flowing fast.”

The executives did not appear to go further on the issue of supplying fighter jets to Ukraine, a previous Borrell commitment that was followed up with a pointing finger and limited enthusiasm.

EU leaders also discussed a plan announced earlier this week to cut Russian gas imports by two-thirds this year. Although this decision does not correspond to the total boycott announced by the United States, Europe imports much more Russian energy, which means that it could have a significant impact, both in Russia and within the EU.

At the summit, it was clear that Europe remains deeply divided over the plan, with some countries saying it goes too far and will crush their economies, and others presenting it as an escape route and a gift to Putin.

Von der Leyen said the European Commission was looking at ways to limit the impact on consumers and businesses and to prepare for next winter.

Leaders said surprisingly little about the refugee issue. The EU announced last week that it would offer Ukrainians up to three years of “temporary protection”, allowing them to avoid a lengthy asylum process. Non-Ukrainian nationals fleeing the war were left in a murkier status.

On Friday, von der Leyen said the commission was setting up a “solidarity platform” to coordinate the reception of refugees and would use parts of the EU budget to fund housing, schooling and guidance in height of “several billion euros in the years to come”. years.”

“We commend European countries, especially on the borders with Ukraine, for showing immense solidarity in welcoming Ukrainian war refugees,” reads a summit. declaration released early Friday morning. “The EU and its Member States will continue to show solidarity and provide humanitarian, medical and financial support to all refugees and the countries hosting them.”

The summit showed the bloc was divided over whether Ukraine should be admitted as a member under a special procedure.

In a speech to the European Parliament last week, Zelensky made an impassioned plea to be allowed to join the 27-nation bloc, saying Ukrainians are not just fighting for their lives, but for European values.

The virtual address moved an EU interpreter and was greeted with a standing ovation. Some EU countries, such as Lithuania, expressed support for the idea, others, notably the Netherlands, opposed it. Most seemed content to say little anyway.

“Can we open an accession procedure today with a country at war? I don’t think so,” French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday. “Should we close the door and say never? It would be unfair.

Ultimately, the leaders’ statement ‘recognized Ukraine’s European aspirations and European choice’ and promised to ‘strengthen our ties and deepen our partnership to help Ukraine pursue its European path’ – without giving details of what this means.

“Ukraine,” the statement concluded, “belongs to our European family.”

Quentin Aries contributed to this report.