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EU Commission approves Finland's €2.1bn Covid recovery plan

Finnish residents will pay some 40 euros per person per year over the next 30 years to finance the EU's Covid stimulus package.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (on right) and Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin on Monday. Image: Laura Kotila / Valtioneuvoston kanslia

During a brief visit to Helsinki, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that the commission had approved Finland's strategy to use its share of the EU Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP), paving the way for the Nordic country to receive about 2.1 billion euros over the next couple of years.

Finland's recovery plan is divided into four areas, including the so-called green transition, digitalisation, employment as well as social and health care services.

At a joint press conference alongside Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) on Monday evening, Von der Leyen said the recovery package was "much more than simple recovery."

"We're reshaping our continent for decades to come, we're making the Green Deal a reality and we're also accelerating digitalisation in an unprecedented manner. So I'm happy to announce that today, the European Commission has decided to give its green light to Finland's recovery and resilience plan. This follows a thorough assessment and excellent cooperation between our teams," von der Leyen said.

Marin said that the EU recovery package was a "key tool" to boost EU states' transition to new digital and green economies.

During von der Leyen's brief visit, she and Marin visited the VTT Technical Research Centre, where work on Finland's first quantum computer is underway. The visit ties into an additional 250 million euros in funding Finland will receive for digitalisation, research and innovation initiatives.

Finland's share is part of the EU's 750-billion-euro coronavirus recovery package, also known as Next Generation EU.

Finland's total funding for 2021–23 is estimated at 2.1 billion euros, although the exact figure will not be known until mid-2022.

Next Generation EU is made up of both loans and grants to finance recovery spending. Finland’s share accounts for 13 billion euros, a mix of debt repayment and loan guarantees payable if a member state defaults on their payments.

Over the next 30 years Finland will repay some 6.6 billion euros, or 1,200 euros per resident. This comes out to roughly 40 euros per person per year, plus interest.

Von der Leyen will travel to Tallinn on Tuesday. Estonia is set to receive some 800 million euros in coronavirus stimulus funding, which will in part be used to support the Rail Baltica project aimed at integrating the Baltic States into the European rail network.