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Finland proposes "modern" EU budget

Finland’s proposal calls for more spending on digitalisation, and 25 percent of funding going to battle climate change.

Euron kolikko ja seteli
Image: Jan Tepass / AOP

Finland, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, on Monday put forward a proposal for the European Union's budget covering the period of 2021–2027.

The budget proposal equals 1.07 percent of the 27 EU member countries' combined gross national income (GNI), some 1,087 billion euros.

The sum is close to that of the current 7-year budget, but below the 1.11 percent of GNI proposed by the European Commission and the 1.3 percent advocated by the EU Parliament.

Even though funds earmarked for more traditional sectors such as agriculture and cohesion policy (otherwise known as regional development), are down, they still make up a larger share than sought by the EU Commission.

Net contributors

In general, the budget proposal reflects pressures from net budget contributors. It is expected that eastern and southern members of the bloc will raise objections to lower spending on cohesion policy.

Finland's caretaker Minister for European Affairs, Tytti Tuppurainen, said in Helsinki on Monday that while the share of the budget designated for agriculture is above the Commission's suggestion, Finland sees a need for the development of rural areas.

A quarter of the budget is linked to measures to fight climate change. The proposal also makes the receipt of EU funds conditional on respect for the rule of law.

EU member states will begin talks on the budget proposal at ambassadorial level on Wednesday. Ministers for European Affairs are scheduled to have discussions on the proposal next week, before it is taken up at an EU summit 12-13 December.

Modern budget

Responding to initial criticism heard in Brussels, Tuppurainen said that Finland had drafted what she described as a "modern" budget that had input from a wide range of sources.

For example, she pointed out that in comparison with the current budget, the new proposal increases funding for digitalisation. However, the total is half of what the European Commission has put forth as a planned budget for its Digital Europe programme.

"Achieving that would not have been politically feasible," Tuppurainen told Yle.

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