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Sustainable growth and jobs 2014-2020. Finland's structural funds programme

Policy Document
Kestävää kasvua ja työtä 2014–2020. Suomen rakennerahasto-ohjelma
Content

Structural funds have been used 20 years, ever since Finland joined the EU. ERDF and ESF funding plays an instrumental role as leverage for instance in regional development. Leverage has been obtained from new action models and knowledge that the projects have generated. The new structural funds programme 'Sustainable growth and jobs 2014-2020' represents continuation in a string of SF programmes in Finland. However, the new programme is different compared to the previous programme periods. This programme covers all four NUTS2 regions of Finland and contains both ERDF and ESF support. Following five priority axes and 13 specific objectives have been set for the programme:

  • Competitiveness of SMEs (ERDF)
    • Generating new business
    • Improving transport and logistic connections that are important to SMEs (only in Eastern and Northern Finland)
    • Promoting growth and internationalisation of enterprises
    • Promoting energy efficiency in SMEs
  • Producing and using the latest knowledge (ERDF)
    • Development of the centres of research, expertise and innovation on the basis of regional strengths
    • Strengthening innovation in enterprises
    • Developing solutions based on renewable energy and energy-efficient solutions
  • Employment and labour mobility (ESF)
    • Promotion of employment among the young and other groups that are in a weak position in the labour market
    • Improving productivity and well-being at work
    • Reducing gender segregation in education and work
  • Education, skills and lifelong learning (ESF)
    • Improving services supporting transitional periods and equality in education
    • Improving the availability and quality of education in growth sectors and sectors affected by structural change
  • Social inclusion and combating poverty (ESF)
    • Improving the working and functional capacity of people outside working life.

The programme pays specific attention to the following challenges: unbalanced economic structure, weakened international competitiveness of businesses and low number of growth companies; need for expanding the research and innovation base; weakened competitiveness of SMEs in sparsely populated areas; sustainable use of natural resources and high-quality environment; high energy consumption and major greenhouse gas emissions; reduction of working age population through ageing or moving; unemployment, especially young people and long-term unemployed; changing competence needs and flexible movement in educational and career paths, gender-specific educational and career paths; and increase of differences in wellbeing, health and inequality.

Activities promoting innovation were targeted especially at priority axes 2 and 1. ‘Producing and using the latest information and knowledge’ include specific development objectives such as development of the centres of research, expertise and innovation on the basis of regional strengths, strengthening innovation in enterprises and developing solutions based on renewable energy and energy-efficient solutions. ‘Competitiveness of SMEs’ is about generating new businesses, promoting growth and internationalisation of enterprises and promoting energy efficiency in SMEs.

Eastern and Northern Finland account for 71% and Southern and Western Finland for 29% of the regional funding. Funding in Western Finland decreased by approximately 30% compared with the previous period, which is considerable loss of funding volume. The change for the whole country was 18%. In total the EU contributes about EUR 1.3 billion of funding in Finland in 2014-2020.

Year of publication: 
2014