Finland’s involvement in the EU
Finland joined the European Union in 1995. Finland is a member of the European Economic and Monetary Union and its currency is the euro. Also, Finland is party to the Schengen Agreement which allows free travel in the area.
For European matters, Finland has a special Cabinet Committee on European Affairs. It is supported by the Committee for EU Affairs and EU bodies. The Finnish Parliament is informed of all developments and it takes part in reviewing EU issues. Finland has a Permanent Representation to the EU in Brusselswhich prepares issues for decision making.
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Finland’s prime minister is a member of the European Council. Its President handles foreign policy issues. Finland has 13 representatives (MEPs)in the European Parliament. The MEPs are elected by direct public ballot.
Finland is very active in the EU. The European Union offers Finland the opportunity to have a say in international matters. It improves relations and cooperation between member states. It is very important for Finland to be able to influence European affairs. In the Union, even a small country can make itself heard.
The common currency brings stability to the Finnish economy. The internal market offers a lot of advantages to Finnish companies. The removal of customs duties and visas has made travel and trade easier in Europe.
The European Union gets the money it needs from the contributions paid by the member states. The amount of the contribution is based on gross national product (GNP) and value added tax revenues of the member states. Also, the agricultural and import duties collected by the Union affect the amount of contribution. The European Union, in turn, offers financial support in the form of various subsidies and development programmes.
At first, Finland received more support from the EU than it paid in contributions. Now the Finnish economy is more developed and Finland has become a net payer. It means that Finland pays more in contributions than it receives in support. In 2010 Finland’s contributions were 0.16% of its GNP. The biggest net payers are Belgium, Germany, Sweden, the UK and the Netherlands (Holland).