The level of national contributions to the EU budget reliably causes a stir every year.

In Germany in particular, which has been at the forefront of contributors for years, the figures for the critics of the European Union were proof of how dearly the community is paying the Germans in particular.

Hendrik Kafsack

Business correspondent in Brussels.

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The European Commission has always countered that the national EU contributions said little because they did not take into account how much countries like Germany in particular benefited from membership in the internal market - in other words, the costs were not compared with any benefits. But since it barely got through to it, years ago it switched to only "clandestinely", as critics say, publishing the figures on the Internet once a year instead of officially presenting them.

Since this year it is over with that too.

The net contributions - i.e. the difference between the annual transfers by the states to the EU and the returns from the various EU pots - is no longer published.

The figures for the individual items can still be found and this is how the net contribution can still be calculated. Germany remains by far the largest net contributor.

In the 2020 budget year, Germany transferred around 15.5 billion euros more to Brussels than it received back.

In the previous year, the net contribution was 14.3 billion euros.

Greece is in second place

Great Britain, France and Italy follow behind Germany.

Great Britain, which was still paying into the EU budget until it finally left the internal market at the end of 2020, transferred a net EUR 10.2 billion.

The French contribution was 8 billion euros, the Italian 4.8 billion euros.

The biggest beneficiary of the EU budget was Poland, which transferred 13.2 billion euros less to Brussels than it received back.

This is interesting because Poland, like Hungary, which received a net € 4.8 billion from Brussels, has been criticized for its handling of the rule of law.

That is why there are repeated calls for EU aid to be cut.

The second largest beneficiary from the EU budget was Greece, which received 5.7 billion euros net.

A different picture emerges if you put the amount of the net contribution in relation to economic output. Germany will still be in the lead with 0.45 percent, but will be closely followed by the four states that, under the name of “thrifty four”, blocked themselves against a higher budget and the Corona development fund last year. Denmark's net contribution to economic output is 0.41 percent. It is followed by the Netherlands (0.40 percent), Sweden (0.39 percent) and Austria (0.38 percent). France is 0.34 percent and Italy 0.29 percent.