European Commission data shows that last year Estonia paid €210.2 million to the European Union budget and received €759.4 million. As a result, Estonia received €500 million more than it paid into the budget, ERR reported on Friday.
Although Estonia's contributions to the European Union's budget will increase each year as the country's wealth grows, Estonia will continue to receive more from the European Union in the next budget period than it will pay in. The budget for 2021-2027 is currently being discussed by the EU.
Erik Marksoo, an adviser to the fiscal policy department at the Ministry of Finance, told ERR that disbursements to countries vary from year to year and depend on the stage of implementation of the budget program.
There are fewer disbursements during the planning phase of the Structural Funds, more disbursements towards the end of the program.
"When the 2014-2020 budget period was agreed, under this agreement, Estonia received €4 of European taxpayers' money for every €1 it contributed," Marksoo said.
"In the next budget period, 2021-2027, Estonia's net position will worsen, and instead of €4, Estonia will probably end up with less than €3 for every euro paid in. But certainly, Estonia will not become a net contributor in the next period," Marksoo said.
Being a net contributor means paying more money into the budget than you receive back. As a comparison with Estonia, ERR reported that Finland pays €580 million more in the common budget than they received back.
Most of Estonia's disbursements are made in structural funds and to agricultural policy. For example, the Cohesion Fund payments to Estonia last year amounted to €375.2 million, agricultural payments €122.6 million and rural development payments to €128 million.
Editor: Helen Wright