Finnish PM believes outcome of EU summit acceptable

Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin

Based on the outcome, the size of the recovery package remained the same at 750 billion euros (US $858 billion). The massive fund comprises 390 billion euros in non-repayable grants and 360 billion euros in loans to member states, while the European Commission’s original proposal of the fund consisted of 500 billion euros in grants and 250 billion euros in loans, Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday.

The amount of non-repayable grants has declined essentially, therefore the compromise is acceptable to Finland, she said, adding that Finland did not want to join any groups in the EU.

Marin said Finland had been able to secure additional 400 million euros for rural area and agricultural support, and a separate 100 million euros for the development of northern Finland.

Marin also said that the “connection between the rule of law and the usage of EU funding” made in the outcome was important to Finland. A third of the recovery package will be used for climate issues, which Marin said was “a sustainable road forward.”

According to the agreement, 70 per cent of the recovery fund should be used in 2021-2022. Another 30 per cent can be used in 2023. The repayment of the pan-European debt under this fund should be completed by December 31, 2058.

The seven-year EU budget for 2021-2027, or the so-called multiannual financial framework (MMF), was set at 1.0743 trillion euros.

Finnish officials told newspaper Helsingin Sanomat on Tuesday that the estimated input to Finland as part of the recovery package will be 3.2 billion euros. And Finland will be paying the recovery package between 2021 and 2058, in all 6.6 billion euros.

In the seven-year budget, Finland is to receive 11.1 billion euros in EU funding, while Finnish payments to the EU will be 16.7 billion euros. Finland as a net payer will show a 5.6-billion-euro deficit in its payments and receivables from the EU, according to the newspaper.

Finland’s opposition parties criticized the outcome. Jussi Halla-aho, chairman of the largest opposition, the Finns Party, said the distribution criteria of the recovery package should have been essentially changed.

“Those countries that have managed their economies more responsibly will have to finance the problems that have resulted from long-term bad economic management in some other countries,” he told Yle.

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