EU Budget: who gets what?

2 November 2012


After the Government was dealt a blow in the Commons earlier this week when its proposed negotiating position for talks on the 2014-2020 EU Budget was rejected by MPs, there has been much talk in the media about what contribution the UK should be making to Brussels.

According to the Express:

"there is some truth in the line that the other EU members will never agree to a spending cut [because] 17 of the 27 member states get more money out than they put in."

As you can see from the chart below, the thrust of this claim is true, although for the most recent year for which figures are available, only 16 EU countries were net beneficiaries.


(source: EU website

As you can see, when looked at in nominal terms the UK contributes €5.6 billion more to the EU than it receives from Brussels, and is fourth in terms of the relative burden placed upon its taxpayers by the EU, behind Germany, France and Italy. Poland is by far the largest beneficiary, netting nearly €11 billion - more than twice the benefit seen by any other member state.

However if we look at the contributions and benefits of EU membership relative to each nation's Gross National Income (you can do this by changing 'Euro' from the drop down menu's on the chart) then the UK's net contribution looks less impressive.

The money sent to Brussels by the UK is the equivalent to 0.32% of GNI, and seven other countries contribute a higher slice of their national incomes: Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy, which is the largest net contributor at 0.38% of GNI.

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