Finland said it is open to an increase of its contribution to the EU multi-year budget after 2020, to compensate for the UK’s exit from the European Union, stated Thursday the Minister of Foreign Affairs Sampo Terho. “We can move by around 1%, up or down, depending on how the funds will be used concretely,’’ declared the Minister at a press conference, marking his distance from Scandinavian countries which, traditionally, hold views that are close to those of Helsinki. Sweden and Denmark, as well as the Netherlands and Austria, all net contributors to the EU budget, are opposed to any increase above the current level of 1% of each one’s GDP.
The British exit, plus the need to finance new policies, particularly in the areas of immigration and defense, create a headache for the 27, digging a “hole” in the European finances, which the EU Commission evaluates at anywhere between 12 to 15 billion per year.
The European commissioner for Budget Günther Oettinger suggested that national contributions go from 1.1 to 1.2% of the GDP after 2020. The commissioner, who is undertaking a tour of the various Member States to convince them of supporting the increase of the European budget, seemed to be satisfied by the reaction the Commission’s project met in Helsinki. “My feeling is that our proposal is not in opposition (to that of Finland, ed.),’’ but “close’’ to Finnish expectations, he affirmed in Helsinki.
The Commission is to render its official 2021-2027 budget proposal public on 2 May. It hopes it will be adopted between now and the 2019 European elections.