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REGION DE LA SEMAINE

Southern Finland with focus on EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region in the City of Turku

(30 - 06 - 2014)

Southern Finland with focus on EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region in the City of Turku

In the first week of June EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn attended the joint 5th Annual Forum for the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) and the 16th Baltic development Forum Summit in the city of Turku in Southern Finland. This event attracted more than 1000 participants to discuss the shared potentials and challenges through cooperation in this dynamic region on growth, connectivity and environment.

The Commissioner presented the European Commission's Report on the governance of macro-regional strategies, and noted the strong commitment of Finland and more particularly of the host region Southern Finland to the shared objectives spelled out through the EUSBSR. Evidence for this can already be seen in the programming of funds in Finland for the coming seven years, a process that could serve as example to other countries in the region and in Europe. "If all countries were to display this level of commitment," said Commissioner Hahn, "we will indeed have something to be proud of come 2020."

 

The EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region in Southern Finland

The EUSBSR is the first comprehensive EU strategy to target a ‘macro-region’. The Strategy focuses on three objectives: Save the Sea, Connect the Region and Increase Prosperity. The eight EU countries that make up the Baltic Sea Region – Estonia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden - face several common challenges which are reflected in this jointly-agreed Action Plan for the Strategy. The EUSBSR should be one of the main guiding documents for the programming 2014-2020, it has the potential to mobilize all the major ESI funds.

In the Strategy, Finland is co-coordinator of the priority areas Safe, Crime, Nutri and Agri, and also of the horizontal action Neighbours, co-coordinated by the city of Turku.

 

How does EU Cohesion Policy contribute?

For the programming period 2007-2013 Southern Finland consisted of seven regions: Uusimaa, East Uusimaa, Kymenlaakso, South Karelia, Päijät-Häme, Kanta-Häme and Southwest Finland. The region received EUR 345 million in public financing of which the EU’s contribution was EUR 138 million, which accounts for approximately 8 % of the total Structural Fund money invested in Finland during programming period 2007-2013.

The main aim of the ERDF programme for Southern Finland was to promote the development of Southern Finland as a balanced and attractive region for inhabitants and businesses at national and international level. The programme differed from other operational programmes in Finland in its emphasis on inter-regional and international projects as well as cooperation. Strong sectors in Southern Finland included the information and communication technology, biotechnology and environmental technology, services, the metals, paper and wood product industry, oil refining and the chemical industry and agriculture and the food industry.

For the programming period 2014-2020 Finland will have a single countrywide programme that contains actions for both ERDF and ESF. The regional plans will be prepared in two areas: East and North Finland together and South and West Finland together. The focus of the ERDF actions will be the improvement of the competitiveness of small and middle sized companies and the production and utilization of the latest knowledge and know-how. Other funds will take up the environmental and connectivity challenges in the region and the cooperative approach seems to be a central theme to the programming as the situation now stands.

 

Project examples 

Bio Refine Tech

EU and national financing: € 1,247,497

The aim of the project is to optimize the circulation of nutrients, save energy and use wastes as materials for new bioproducts. The University of Turku studies the growth of algea and cyanobacteria in waste waters and investigates potential algea products. Big paper companies UPM and Stora Enso as well as the energy group Fortun and the leading Finnish foodstuff company Raisio are partners in the projects.

Game Cluster

EU and national support: € 1,766,277

The aim is to help build new business and expand the clustering of an entire ecosystem around Gaming, and to ensure efficient co-operation between universities and business to create new opportunities in the region, and to develop the training and education perspectives of the field.

LOGOMO

EU and national financing: € 166 600

LOGOMO is a former railway works building located in Turku that has been renovated and refitted for events and as business incubator. It is one of the three Creative Spaces projects – the other two being located in Porvoo and Hämeenlinna – finding new uses for empty industrial buildings and providing a physical space in which businesses can learn from each other and find collaborative partners from completely different areas. Aim of these Creative Spaces is to generate close-knit, well-functioning, highly skilled business networks to boost business and jobs for creative workers.

RENEWTECH - Wind power technology and business operation development

EU contribution: € 2,009,429

The RENEWTECH project gathers together operators within South Eastern Finland with wind-power expertise with the goal of developing wind-power technology and business into exportable products. The project is set to produce new commercially applicable wind-power innovations, maintenance concepts and logistics and includes training and top research in the field of wind power. For example, Lappeenranta University of Technology and Kymenlaakso University of Applied Sciences have joined forces to offer engineering students study modules in the topic.

 

More information:

Finland and the Structural Funds 2007-2013

Finland and the Structural Funds 2014-2020

 

EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region

5th Annual Forum on the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region