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Understanding the New Ukraine Assistance Fund: A Game-Changer in EU Support to Ukraine?

After some nine months of intense diplomatic negotiations, the Ukraine Assistance Fund (UAF) has finally found its place in the EU legal framework. A political agreement was reached at ambassadorial level in COREPER on 13 March, and EU Foreign Ministers formally finalised it in the form of a Council Decision at the Foreign Affairs Council on 18 March 2024 (here). This post aims to understand the legal features of the new fund in the context of EU assistance to Ukraine, in order to shed light on its objective contribution to the EU's response to Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine and the construction of a more supranational Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). The Ukraine Assistance Fund is a specifically developed envelope worth 5 billion within the existing European Peace Facility (EPF) to step up the EU’s military support to Ukraine to a new, next phase. As the High Representative pointed out, the consensus on this new financial section confirms the EU's unwavering support for Ukraine for as long as it takes:…

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Immobilised Assets, Extraordinary Profits: The EU Council Decision on Russia’s Central Bank Reserves and Its Legal Challenges

On 28 February 2024, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced that ‘it is time to start a conversation about using the windfall profits of frozen Russian assets to jointly purchase military equipment for Ukraine’. This statement comes on the heels of a decision adopted by the Council of the European Union (EU)…

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Rising tensions at the EU’s External Borders with Russia: The Unwanted Return of Instrumentalised Migration and Problematic Responses

On November 22nd 2023, the Finnish government announced its decision to close all but one of its border crossings with Russia — having closed four crossings one week earlier. That decision was taken in response to a spike in arrivals of undocumented migrants. Though the EU and its Member States have been confronted with…

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The Discomfort of Extraterritoriality: US Semiconductor Export Controls and why their Chokehold on Dutch Photolithography Machines Matter  

In the wake of the US Department of Commerce’s announcement on 17 October 2023 of new sweeping semiconductor export control restrictions, China began stockpiling photolithography machines produced by ASML based in the Netherlands. Why did China scramble towards a Dutch company because of US restrictions? These regulations were designed to restrict the transfer of…

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Towards a gender-sensitive EU external trade policy

Gender equality is one of the central priorities of the EU’s external policies and actions. According to the Gender Action Plan III, 85% of the EU’s external relations actions ought to contribute to gender equality and women’s empowerment by 2025. This ambition aligns with the more recently formulated “Feministische Außenpolitik” of German…

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