EU ministers give green light to Finland's Covid recovery plan

The approval means that Finland will receive an initial payment of about 271 million euros to help the economy recover from the effects of the pandemic.

Finance Minister Annika Saarikko (Cen) met with finance ministers from the 26 other EU member states via video conference on Thursday. Image: Markku Ulander / Lehtikuva

EU finance ministers approved Finland's Covid recovery and resilience plan during a video conference on Thursday, meaning Finland will receive its first share of the EU recovery package.

The initial payment amounts to 13 percent of the recovery fund pot, or about 271 million euros. In total, Finland will receive an estimated 2.1 billion euros from the EU's recovery package.

The plan had previously been approved by the European Commission at the beginning of October.

Finland's plan had set out how the Nordic nation intends to utilise funding from the EU's Recovery and Resilience Facility, identifying four key areas: Green transition, digitalisation, employment and skills, and health and social services.

Finance Minister Annika Saarikko (Cen) represented Finland at the meeting, announcing at a press conference afterwards that Finland's focus on climate change was commended by the other member states.

"We received special praise for the fact that the plan emphasises the role of green transition measures," Saarikko said.

In a press release accompanying the announcement, the European Council said Finland's use of the money would help it meet the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2035.

"The measures Finland outlined in its recovery plan encompass increasing the share of renewables in the energy mix, decarbonising industry, reducing emissions of buildings and promoting low-emission transport systems," the statement said.

The Council of the European Union will formally approve the plans in writing over the coming days.

Valdis Dombrovskis, the Latvian Vice-President of the European Commission, confirmed the approval of Finland's plan on Twitter, along with those of Estonia and Romania.

Story continues after image.

Dombrovskis said that the plans of 22 member states have now received approval, adding that the plans must be put into effect as soon as possible.

Overall Finland will pay more into the common fund than it will receive in return. According to the Ministry of Finance's latest estimate, Finland's contribution will be about 5.3 billion euros at 2018 prices.

Finland will repay some 6.6 billion euros over 30 years — between 2028 and 2058 — or 1,200 euros per resident. This comes out to roughly 40 euros per person per year, plus interest.