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Finland's EU payments rising

Finland's Minister for European Affairs, Alexander Stubb, says that the country's payments to the EU will continue to grow in coming years. As a percentage of GDP, Finland's payments are already on par with Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany.

Eu-nettomaksut grafiikkakäyröinä.
Image: Yle Uutisgrafiikka

Ever since joining the EU in 1995, Finland has continuously got back less from the EU than it contributes.

In 2011, Finland paid 652 million euros more into the EU's coffers than came back to the country. Relative to GDP, payments were 0.34% in the red. As recently as in the year 2000, that figure stood at 0.21%.

During the same period, payments by other net contributors such as the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany have hovered around -3%, raising the question if Finland's relative contribution will surpass that of Germany.

Minister for European Affairs Alexander Stubb is adamant that this will not be the case.

"I can guarantee that Finland will not become a larger net contributor than Germany, the Netherlands or Sweden," Stubb told Yle on Thursday.

Payment levels are to be set during a summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday on long-term budget plans.

Cheap ticket

Stubb stressed that the EU is not "an accounting exercise in how much goes in and how much comes out." The benefits are difficult to measure when over half of Finland's exports go to other member countries.

"We have rather cheap access to these markets," Stubb pointed out

Even so, the price of this cheap ticket into the EU market will continue to rise with time. Stubb found it possible to put a positive twist on the rise in net payments.

"The rise in payments shows well that Finland is now a more wealthy country than it was when it became an EU member," he offered.

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