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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 September 2005, 22:11 GMT 23:11 UK
Holland tops EU paymasters list
EU cash flow figures for 2004 show Holland, Sweden and Germany paid out more of their national income than other states to finance the EU budget.

The biggest net recipients of EU cash, as a proportion of their national income, were Luxembourg, Greece and Portugal followed by the Baltic states.

The figures released on Thursday show money beginning to flow to the 10 new members which joined in 2004.

They also show the total amount spent on farming falling 6% as against 2003.

The numbers can be crunched in various ways.

EU budget bar chart
The biggest contributors in nominal terms were, in order, Germany, France, Italy and the UK - which all paid more than 10bn euros - though the UK would have been in second place had it not been for a rebate worth 5.3bn euros (3.6bn).

The biggest net contributions - the difference between the amount paid in and the amount received in return - came from, in order, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Italy and France.

But when these net contributions are expressed as a proportion of the countries' national incomes, the Netherlands came first, followed by Sweden, Germany, the UK, Italy, France and Austria.

The first four countries came in the same order in 2003.

EU budget bar chart
The biggest recipients in nominal terms were Spain, France, Germany and Italy, which all received more than 10bn euros, followed at some distance by the UK on 7.1bn euros.

Poland featured in 10th place with 2.7bn euros.

The biggest net recipients were Spain, Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Poland, while the countries with the biggest net receipts as a proportion of national income were Luxembourg, Greece, Portugal, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

These are the results you get looking at the overall expenditure in each country.

Agriculture

When you separate out expenditure on administration, and focus solely on operational expenditure you get a different list of figures, which the EU calls "operating budgetary balances".

In this case the biggest net contributors, as a proportion of national income, are the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany, as before, followed this time by Italy, Belgium and France.

The list of biggest net recipients, as a proportion of national income, no longer starts with Luxembourg but Greece instead. Then it continues as before.

This is because Luxembourg houses a number of EU institutions, and a considerable proportion of the money spent on EU administration is listed as being spent in the Duchy.

The total amount spent on administration was 5.9bn euros, nearly half of which was spent in Belgium.

Agriculture and rural development swallowed 47.5% of the budget in 2004 compared with 54.1% in 2003, declining from 44.4bn to 43.6bn euros.

France received the largest share of this money (9.4bn euros), followed by Spain, Germany, Italy and the UK.



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