TALLINN – According to Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, Estonia is ready to eventually become a net contributor to the European Union budget if Ukraine joins the bloc, the Financial Times writes.
She also called on other EU countries to start work on budgetary reforms that would enable Kyiv’s membership.
Kallas said the country was prepared to lose access to cohesion funds.
"Eventually it will happen, but not immediately," Kallas told the Financial Times.
The Financial Times revealed last week that an internal EU study has estimated Ukraine would be entitled to almost 190 billion euros over seven years under the current budget structure, converting many countries from being net recipients of EU funds to net contributors.
Estonia was one of six countries mentioned in the EU council paper as losing access to cohesion funds should Ukraine and other would-be members, such as Moldova and six countries in the Western Balkans, join without the budget rules first being amended.
"We have to discuss this, what are the rules, how this money is distributed and what we get in exchange," Kallas said in an interview on the sidelines of a gathering of EU leaders in Spain last week, where the topic was discussed by all 27 for the first time. "Nobody ... says that we don’t need to reform anything. The question is how much? And what exactly?"
Taras Kachka, Ukraine’s deputy economy minister, said last week that he understood the EU would have to conduct "a complex reassessment" of its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which subsidizes farmers, before the country joined the bloc.