Operational Programme 'Botnia - Atlantica'

Programme under the European Territorial Cooperation Objective, co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)


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On 29 November 2007, the European Commission approved a Cross-border Cooperation Operational Programme between Finland, Sweden and Norway for the period 2007-13. The total budget of the Programme is approximately €61 million and includes Community assistance through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) of some €30.5 million. This represents approximately 0.35% of the total EU investment earmarked for the European Territorial Cooperation Objective under the Cohesion Policy 2007-13.

The Programme covers the regions of Keski-Pohjanmaa, Pohjanmaa and Satakunta in Finland, and Västerbottens län, Västernorrlands län and a small part of Gävleborgs län in Sweden. The participating region in Norway is Nordland fylke.

In addition to the ERDF allocation and the national contributions from Sweden and Finland, Norway provides its own, parallel funding to the Programme. The region of Etelä-Pohjanmaa in Finland and the remaining parts of Gävleborgs län in Sweden can participate in the projects as adjacent areas receiving a maximum 20% of the ERDF funding allocated to the Programme.

1. Aim and purpose of the programme

The programme area, with its maritime border between Sweden and Finland and its mountainous border between Norway and Sweden, is characterised by disparities in terms of infrastructure quality, differing population patterns and a predominately negative population development. The overall objective of the Programme is to strengthen the east-west dimension and contribute to increased integration and cooperation for stronger economic growth and sustainable development.

Two Programme strategies will address the needs and common challenges identified in the cross-border region:

  • development of communication, the natural and cultural environment, and people-to-people contacts, in an effort to increase regional cohesion;
  • cross-border cooperation designed to strengthen innovation and technology, and improve the skills and competitiveness of industry and the community.

2. Expected impact of investments

The adopted Programme is the third in a consecutive series of cross-border cooperation programmes between Finland, Sweden and Norway. As such, the investments are expected to result in continued cross-border activities between the participating countries, further strengthening of the links created in the previous programming periods and a new level of cross-border cooperation. There should also be better coordination of environmental protection, cooperation between higher education institutions, cross-border trade, cross-border healthcare, and coordination of maritime safety and emergency services.

Both the Programme authorities and external evaluators will conduct analyses which are important instruments for measuring the results. A series of indicators, applicable to each of the Programme priorities, will be used for this purpose.

3. Priorities

Priority 1: Structures for Collaboration [approximately 42.5% of total funding]

The objectives of this priority are to strengthen cohesion between the regions by joint cross-border development of communication, the natural and cultural environment and cultural ties. Activities focusing on environment, communication and cohesion are financed under this priority.

Priority 2: Growth through Collaboration [approximately 51.5% of total funding]

The aims under this priority are to strengthen innovation and improve skills and competitiveness within the industry and community. Activities focusing on skills, industry and the community are financed under this priority.

Priority 3: Technical Assistance [approximately 6% of total funding]

The overall objective of this priority is to support the management, evaluation and monitoring of the Programme.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Botnia - Atlantica'

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

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Number of decision


Final approval date


Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Structures for Collaboration 12 949 184 12 949 184 25 898 368
Growth through Collaboration 15 691 364 15 691 364 31 382 728
Technical Assistance 1 828 120 1 828 120 3 656 240
Total 30 468 668 30 468 668 60 937 336