Market: The EU agrees on aid to Ukraine and sanctions against Russia

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU heads of state and government agreed on Thursday 18 billion euros in aid to Ukraine for 2023 and new sanctions against Russia, as the bloc continues to discuss gas price caps and support for European industry.

Poland agreed on Thursday to withdraw its veto against the introduction in the EU of a minimum corporate tax rate of 15%, thereby unblocking a whole package of deals, including in particular further aid to Ukraine.

“The next six months will require even greater efforts from us,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told EU leaders, asking for increased support.

Meeting in Brussels, the Twenty-Seven also agreed on a ninth set of sanctions against Russia, diplomats reported.

The agreement, which is to be formally concluded on Friday, includes e.g. blacklisting nearly 200 more people and banning investment in Russia’s mining industry.

The decision, which requires unanimity, came after Poland and Lithuania argued that proposed exemptions for food safety could benefit Russian oligarchs active in the fertilizer business.

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After much disagreement over the year, the EU also appears to be nearing a gas price cap deal, with leaders instructing their ministers to finalize the issue on Monday.

Regarding the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), less wealthy EU countries have called for a coordinated response and more solidarity from richer member states, such as Germany.

“Today we see that countries too often try to set up mechanisms in isolation,” said Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.

The Council asked the European Commission to make specific proposals early next year to support the blockchain industry while ensuring competition in the single market of 450 million consumers.

European leaders have also given Bosnia and Herzegovina official candidate status to join the EU.

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; French version by Kate Entringer, editing by Jean Terzian)

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