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Net payments plummet: Finland drops to bottom of EU contributor list in 2016

Last year Finland paid 1.8 billion euros to the European Union and received 1.5 billion euros in EU money in return. This means that Finland's net payments to the European Union fell to below 300 million euros in 2016, placing the Nordic country at the bottom of the EU member states contributor list for the year, alongside Italy. 

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Image: AOP

Finland's net payments to the European Union fell by more than half last year, from what European Commission statistics estimate was 570 million euros in 2015 to 294 million euros in 2016.

This means that, once the books were balanced, the per capita contribution from Finland to the EU fell from 104 euros per person in 2015 to 54 euros per person in 2016.

This puts Finland in last place, alongside Italy, among the countries that were still contributions for the year. Finland's net payments were much smaller in 2016 than Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Austria and the UK, for example.

The net payments figure is derived from difference between the money Finland pays into the EU and the revenue the country receives from the institution.

Orpo: Common market value incalculable

In a Finance Ministry press release Friday, Finland's Finance Minister Petteri Orpo reminds the public that the Commission figures don't do justice to all of the perks that belonging to the common market bring to the country.

"Net payment figures don't convey all of the benefits that Finland enjoys from a shared internal market and the free movement of labour. At the same time, the EU works hard to fight climate change, defend its citizens and find ways to address migration and refugee issues. These are things that require EU-level solutions, and bring added value to each of us," Orpo says.

Finland joined the European Union in 1995. For three out of the first five years Finland was in the union, it ended the year with a surplus, with a 2000 peak of an estimated 275.9 million euros more EU money coming in than going out.

Since 2001, however, Finland has regularly been paying more into the organisation than it is receiving. From 2008 to 2015, for example, Finland averaged a net shortfall of over 500 million euros each year.

More EU funding for infrastructure

Finland paid a total of 1.8 billion euros to the European Union in 2016, and received 1.5 billion euros back in EU revenue.

Most of this increased injection of EU money was granted to improve Finland's transport network, but another 33 million was allotted for security and immigration purposes. Funding and support for agricultural and forestry development increased by close to 19 million.

Member state contributions to the European Union are founded on a measure of each individual country's wealth. Last year the largest overall contributors were Germany, France and Sweden.

The countries on the largest receiving end of EU funding tend to be the poorest countries in the union. Last year, this group included Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine.

Edit on November 6 at 10:45 am to clarify that Finland is ranked last among the EU member states that are contributing more than they are receiving from the EU.

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