The European Commission has released more specific proposals for the European Union’s 2021–2027 budget term. According to the Commission’s figures, Finland’s regional aid funds would grow by 20% from €1.5bn to €1.8bn. Eastern European countries will see budget cuts worth €37bn.
According to Vice-President Jyrki Katainen and Commissioner Corina Crețu, many factors impact the distribution of funds: youth unemployment, education level, migration, and carbon dioxide emissions.
Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä and Kari Aalto, Director of the East and North Finland EU Office, were happy with the Commission’s proposals.
Also Prime Minister Juha Sipilä was happy with the European Commission’s proposal regarding Finland’s cohesion funds. The Commission would give Finland cohesion funds worth €1.6bn in the next budget term. Finland and Greece are the only old member states whose funds will increase. Prime Minister Sipilä said the Commission has understood the special circumstances of Finland. It has been important for Finland that dispersed settlement will remain as one of the criteria for receiving funding.
Cohesion funds will be allocated worth €373bn. The European Parliament has accused the Commission for distorting the numbers and maintains that the cuts to the cohesion funds will be larger than stated.
Vice-Chair of the Budget Committee, MEP Petri Sarvamaa (EPP) voiced his disappointment over the Commission’s earlier proposals on Tuesday, saying that in practice, the proposed budget is smaller than the current financial framework which is incomprehensible in Europe’s current situation. MEP Nils Torvalds (ALDE) commented that the Commission looks at regions, not at countries when it grants the subsidies. « Finland is the last of the most developed countries in the EU which actually receives money, because the country is large but sparsely populated. Many municipalities in Eastern Finland struggle with poor economy, » he said.