Several non-EU countries make financial contributions to the EU and its Member States. The task of managing those contributions is beset with risks, some of those resulting from Brexit. This is explained by the European Court of Auditors in its first comprehensive review of this little-known topic, which is published today. The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) states also make direct financial contributions to certain EU Member States as a result of package deals negotiated when they were granted access to the EU’s internal market. These latter contributions entail some key challenges to ensure that they are commensurate to the benefits of access to the internal market and are complementary with EU actions whilst limiting the risk of double funding.
About 1% of EU revenue comes from contributions paid by 18 non-EU countries. This represented around €7 billion over the 2014-2019 period, with Switzerland and Norway (€2.2 bn each), Turkey (€1.3 bn) and Israel (€1.0 bn) being the largest contributors. In return for these financial contributions, non-EU countries gain access to EU programmes or activities such as Horizon 2020 or Erasmus+. In addition to these contributions paid directly to the EU, the four EFTA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) provide an average of €0.5 billion each year directly to some EU Member States to complement the EU’s cohesion policy by reducing social and economic disparities in the EU and the European Economic Area.
“With this review, we aim to provide a comprehensive picture of the largely unknown financial contributions non-EU countries provide directly to the EU and to some of its Member States”, said François-Roger Cazala, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the review. “Our work sheds light for the first time on the challenges the EU is facing in connection with these contributions and their management.”
Press Release: First ECA review of an uncharted territory: risks and challenges of the financial contributions from non-EU countries to the EU and some of its Member States