The EU is considering cutting seven Russian banks, including second-largest lender VTB, from the international SWIFT messaging system used to process payments, according to documents released by POLITICO today. Tuesday.
But the list does not include Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, or Gazprombank, its third-largest lender, which is closely related to the energy sector.
Otkritie Bank, Novikombank, Promsvyazbank, Rossiya Bank, Sovcombank and VEB are the remaining six banks on the list.
The EU has been reluctant to remove Russian banks from SWIFT due to its dependence on oil and gas from Russia.
Hardly blocking Russia’s participation in SWIFT is considered the “nuclear option” as it would make payments almost impossible except through outdated methods such as fax.
While there is growing political momentum to take a firmer stance, the absence of Sberbank and Gazprombank on the list suggests that concerns remain about the potential effects of the economy.
One of the diplomats said the list was drawn up by the Commission after consulting with the US.
It was discussed on Tuesday at a meeting of EU ambassadors. Diplomats said the debate focused on the list of banks, of which Poland is trying to expand the list.
According to one of the diplomats, “Poland wants it to be more ambitious.”
Baltic states like Estonia are also pushing for something bigger and faster but have now signed on.
During the discussion, the Estonian ambassador argued that “unification is the hardest currency in our hands at the moment,” according to one of the diplomats.
Another diplomat said another point still open is the grace period. Currently, the text says that “it will be banned as of [10 days after entry into force of the Regulation] to provide specialized financial messaging services. ”
EU ambassadors will meet again on Tuesday night to finalize the deal.
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https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-considers-cutting-7-banks-from-swift-but-some-big-names-missing-document/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication EU considers cutting 7 Russian banks from SWIFT, but missing some big names: documents - POLITICO