Netherlands largest net contributor EU this century

16/12/2016 14:00
© Hollandse Hoogte
Between 2000 and 2015, the Netherlands was on average the largest net contributor to the EU relative to all other EU members. The Netherlands’ average net contribution exceeded 0.4 percent of gross national income (GNI). This is the outcome of a survey by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) on remittances to the EU between 2000 and 2015.
In 2015, payments to the EU amounted to almost 150 euros net per head of the Dutch population. Dutch remittances were 2.5 billion euros higher last year than what was received from the European Union. The amount includes the annual rebates which apply in the period 2014-2020 and which still remain to be disbursed by the EU. Without the annual rebate, in 2015 the Netherlands’ payments would have been about 3.5 billion euros higher than receipts, i.e. 210 euros per head.

Over the past 15 years, all member states in eastern Europe (from the date of accession to the EU) and nearly all member states in southern Europe have, on average, been net beneficiaries of the EU. When balanced against gross national income (GNI), Germany and Sweden are the next largest net contributors after the Netherlands. Whereas the Netherlands paid nearly 210 euros per capita before reduction, Slovakia and Czech Republic received 570 and 540 euros net per capita respectively.

Financing of the EU

The EU obtains most of its revenue from three main sources. The first source are the so-called traditional own resources (TOR), principally import duties. These are not nearly sufficient to cover all costs. Therefore, EU members also contribute part of their own VAT resources. Since 1989, this amount has been based on the gross national income (GNI). The latter has become an increasingly major resource: currently, 70 percent of EU funding is distributed among the member states in proportion to their GNI. The VAT-based own resources and the GNI-based own resources together make up a country’s national contributions.

Germany contributes the highest euro amount

When looking at total contributions in euros, Germany ranks highest. The country paid over 24 billion euros into the EU budget, equivalent to over 20 percent of total VAT-based and GNI-based contributions to the EU. According to single proportion, the Netherlands’ contribution of slightly below 6 billion euros (5 percent) ranks sixth. As for receiving EU funding, Germany occupied fifth place in 2015 (10.8 billion euros) and the Netherlands fifteenth (2.3 billion euros).

Looking at net contributions (payments minus amounts received) in euros, excluding the import duties, then Germany is the largest net contributor, spending approximately 13.5 billion euros in 2015, followed by the United Kingdom with a net contribution of 10.9 billion euros. The Netherlands ranks fourth after France with a net contribution of 3.5 billion euros. Poland was the highest net beneficiary, receiving net 9.6 billion euros.

EU compensations

Since the start of the century, the Netherlands has only been net receiver of the EU once, in 2009. This was related to 2.1 billion euros in arrear paid over 2007 and 2008. The Netherlands received rebates on contributions which had been granted but not yet disbursed. In 2014, the Netherlands had to make sizeable additional payments, while an annual rebate is expected over the period 2014-2016 of around 1 billion euros per year, to be disbursed in 2017. Taking the above into account, the net contribution per head of the Dutch population has remained the same since the year 2000.


As mentioned earlier, the United Kingdom is the largest net contributor to the EU after Germany. The UK’s planned withdrawal from the EU is therefore likely to have serious consequences for monetary flows withing the EU. Since the UK is a net contributor, Brexit may leave a gap in the EU budget which needs to be filled by the other member states.
Therefore, the CBS survey also projects what EU funding would have been like in recent years had the United Kingdom not been a member. Subsequently, the possible impact on Dutch contributions is outlined in several scenarios, as well as the additional contributions required from the Netherlands if there had not been a British EU membership.