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Finnish MEPs divided over how to fill EU's Brexit budget gap

Brexit will leave a hole in the EU's budget, and that could mean a bigger bill for Finland. Six of 13 Finnish MEPs told Yle they're ready to accept that.

Lippuja parlamentin pihalla.
Image: Niko Mannonen / Yle
Egan Richardson

An Yle survey of Finnish MEPs found that six parliamentarians are willing to accept a rise in Finnish contributions to the EU budget, four were opposed, two were unsure and one declined to answer the survey.

The Green, SDP and National Coalition Party MEPs were most positive about a rise in Finnish contributions, with the Finns Party, Centre and Left Alliance representatives opposed to a rise in Finnish payments.

When Britain leaves the EU, the bloc's budget will have to do without net contributions totalling some 13 billion euros per year. EU countries are currently starting negotiations on the first post-Brexit budgeting period, which will last at least five years.

The end of British payments could mean bigger contributions for others, but some MEPs had other ideas. NCP MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen said that come countries could end up with a smaller share of the cake, and authoritarian governments in central Europe might suffer.

"The question could also be where are we ready to cut if we don't want to increase net contributions," said Pietikäinen.

Transport infrastructure spending

"For example Poland and Hungary have received substantial transport infrastructure subsidies, and their share of the regional and agricultural funds is disproportionately large. It is relevant to ask how resources might be cut off to countries that don't commit to the EU's founding principles."

Green MEP Heidi Hautala, meanwhile, would endeavour to increase direct funding for the EU through a new union-wide sales, carbon or financial market tax.

Finns Party MEP Pirkko Ruohonen-Lerner said that Finland's net payments were already too large, while Leftist Merja Kyllönen (who is also running for president) said that there should be a limit to what Finland was willing to pay.

Swedish people's Party MEP Nils Torvalds and Centre MEP Hannu Takkula both declined to say whether or not they would be prepared to support increased contributions, while Paavo Väyrynen did not answer Yle's questions at all.

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