Sweden big loser in EU budget

Sweden was the second largest net contributor to the European Union's budget last year, paying €850 million ($1.2 billion) more in contributions than it received back.

Sweden big loser in EU budget
Photo: EU

Of the 25 countries that were members of the EU last year, only the Netherlands got a worse deal than Sweden in relation to the size of its economy, according to the European Commission’s accounts. Germany was the third biggest net contributor, with Denmark in fourth place.

Nine out of the 25 member states paid more into the EU than they got out of it in the form of agricultural subsidies, regional aid and other types of grant.

Sweden paid €2.7 billion into the EU, receiving €1.5 billion back. Sweden’s net contribution was 0.28 percent of its gross national income (GNI). By comparison, the Dutch contribution was 0.47 percent. Germany paid 0.27 percent of its GNI.

By September this year, Sweden will have spent 80 percent of the structural and regional development funds allocated to it for the period 2000-2006. The country can apply for remaining funds any time before December 2009, after which the money will go back into the general EU pot.

The EU budget was €106 billion in 2006, corresponding to less than one percent of EU member states’ combined GNI. Sweden’s former prime minister, Göran Persson, made himself unpopular with some other EU countries when along with a handful of others he objected to moves to allow the EU budget to exceed one percent of GNI.

The negotiations resulted in the budget being allowed to slightly exceed one percent, although the figures show that in 2006 the budget only actually reached 0.93 percent of GNI.