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Finland to receive first instalment of €2bn Covid recovery package

The money, which is part of an EU-wide €750bn package, is due to be announced at a Helsinki press conference next month.

Sanna Marin, Charles Michel ja Ursula von der Leyen hymyilevät.
PM Sanna Marin and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are expected to announce the approval of Finland's national Covid recovery plan in Helsinki on 4 October. Image: Olivier Hoslet / EPA

Finland will receive the first instalment of the European Union's 750 billion euro Covid-19 recovery package in October, Yle has learned.

Multiple sources familiar with the matter have told Yle that European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) will announce the approval of Finland's national Covid recovery plan in Helsinki on 4 October.

Finland's initial payment of some 200-300 million euros constitutes around 13 percent of the total funding package that was approved by a supermajority in Parliament in May after extensive delays, filibuster speeches by opposition MPs and a vote of confidence in the government.

The bulk of the remaining money - roughly two billion euros - will arrive in 2022 and 2023, and will be used to fund the so-called "green transition" of the economy.

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Eduskunnan EU-tukipaketin äänestystulos englanninkielellä.
Two governing coalition MPs from the Centre Party rebelled and voted against the proposed package in May

In May, former Finance Minister Matti Vanhanen (Cen) said the package was "less of a stimulus, more of a reform programme".

Finland's proposals are divided into four main areas: green transition, digitalisation, employment and health and social care.

The details of the support package will be presented by von der Leyen and Marin at a joint press conference. Previous events in other EU member states have included the announcement of concrete spending proposals and projects to be funded by the incoming money.

Among the 27 EU members, 20 have so far had their national recovery plans approved by the EU and 13 have already begun receiving money from the 750 billion euro fund.

Yle News' APN podcast covered the debate among MPs from the opposition National Coalition Party, who were divided on whether or not to support the package.

Article continues after audio.

Audio: Yle News

Before Finland's first instalment is delivered it must also be approved by the European Council, the body that comprises EU heads of state or government, as well as the president of the European Council Charles Michel and European Commission President von der Leyen.

EU finance ministers will meet on 5 October, where the payment to Finland may be approved.

Other EU member states have also faced obstacles in finalising their recovery packages. Proposals from Poland and Hungary have been shelved by the Commission on the grounds that they violate the democratic principles of the EU.

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