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On the 1st of January 1995 Finland as well as Sweden and Austria officially joined the European Union EU bringing membership to 15 In addition to increasing the EU population by 216 million inhabitants this enlargement raised the EU Gross Domestic Product GDP by roughly 7 percent The three entrant countries were all former members of the European Free Trade Area EFTA -a zone then economically less dynamic than the European Community - and had already had previous relationships with the Community through the European Economic Area EEA which linked the EFTA with the EU More specific to Finland its economy was declining mainly because of the 1990 collapse of the USSR to which Finland was historically economically and geographically strongly tied Compared to the EU average Finland was a relative small Member State in many respects which may lead us to think that its influence on the EU was extremely limited if not inexistent Yet voluntarily or not the country has had positive but also more damaging impacts on the EUs budget institutions foreign and domestic policies not forgetting Finlands role in the evolution of some specific EU policies As a Member State Finland has had an impact on several specific EU policies since its entry One of the most sensitive areas was arguably agriculture for Finland traditionally subsidised it even more than the EC did with Common Agricultural Policy CAP This reflected a deliberate policy of ensuring that Finlands arctic and subarctic regions remained populated -mainly for security reasons Finland sharing 1300 km land borders with Russia As parts of the acquis communautaire common EU prices would have normally been directly applied but in the case of Finland this would have led to an agricultural crisis Preston 1997 100 Britain had also many trade and financial interests in dealing with Finland within the EU framework and this led to last-minute concessions known as the Northern Support Scheme In addition to degressive
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