Operational Programme 'North'

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


Additional tools


On 12 December 2007, the European Commission approved a Cross-border Cooperation Operational Programme between Finland, Sweden and Norway for the period 2007-2013. The total budget of the Programme is approximately €57 million and includes Community funding through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) of some €34 million. This represents approximately 0.4% of the total EU investment earmarked for the European Territorial Cooperation Objective under the Cohesion Policy 2007-2013.

In addition to the ERDF allocation and the national contributions from Sweden and Finland, Norway provides its own, parallel funding to the Programme. The Programme covers the regions of Lappi, Pohjois-Pohjanmaa and Keski-Pohjanmaa in Finland and Norrbottens län and parts of Västerbottens län in Sweden. Participating regions in Norway are Finnmarks fylke, Troms fylke and Nordlands fylke. The remaining part of the region of Västerbottens län in Sweden can participate in the projects as an adjacent area, receiving a maximum 20% of the ERDF funding.

One of the Programme's priority axes, Sápmi, covers additional regions in Sweden and Norway (Västerbottens län and a small part of Dalarnas län in Sweden, and Nord-Trøndelag fylke, Sør-Trøndelag fylke and a part of Hedmark fylke in Norway).

The Sami people are an ethnic and cultural minority group inhabiting Sápmi, the Sami region stretching across four countries. There are about 79 000 Sami people in total (50 000 in Norway, 20 000 in Sweden, 7000 in Finland and 2000 in Russia). The Sami-populated regions in Russia can take part in the projects, receiving a maximum 10% of the ERDF funding allocated to the Sápmi priority.

1. Aim and purpose of the programme

The Programme area is characterised by its sparsely populated regions, aging population and average population density of 3.5 inhabitants per km2. The geographical location, cold climate and long distances make heavy demands on infrastructure and communications, while the vast labour market regions result in additional costs in terms of maintaining a good level of service.

The overall objective of the Programme is to strengthen the competitiveness and cohesion of the region. For the Sápmi sub-Programme, the aim is to develop Sami cultural life and industry by making use of their resources in an ecological and sustainable way. The Programme strategy addresses the needs and common challenges identified in the cross-border region by developing methods and structures that facilitate cooperation between the regions.

2. Expected impact of investments

The adopted Programme is the third in a consecutive series of cross-border cooperation programmes in the northernmost part of Scandinavia. For this new period, it is the only cross-border programme that addresses specific issues faced by the Sami population.

The expected impacts of the investment include further development of the links created in the previous programming periods as well as cross-border cooperation brought to a new level. New actors and expertise combined with the extended Programme area should result in opportunities for new innovative solutions. A series of indicators applicable to each of the Programme priorities will be used to evaluate the output and results of the Programme.

3. Priorities

Priority 1: Development of the Economy [approximately 26.7% of total funding]

The aim of this priority is to ensure that the region's industry has a higher number of enterprises with increased turnover in new and traditional businesses by 2013. This will be achieved through the development of new products and services, the creation of networks and business-to-business relations and the expansion of markets within strategic areas.

Priority 2: Research, Development and Education [approximately 27.1% of total funding]

The aims under this priority are for the region's higher education institutions to develop cooperation within strategic areas, for research institutions to develop joint research environments for industry research and innovation activities, and for industry, public actors and research and education institutions to increase their knowledge of mechanisms used for successful entrepreneurship and innovative environments.

Priority 3: Regional Functionality and Identity [approximately 27.1% of total funding]

The aim under this priority is to strengthen cohesion through more cross-border connections and contacts. This is expected to facilitate the transfer of information and the movement of people, services and goods, in addition to developing relations for long-term cooperation.

Priority 4: Sápmi – Unbounded Development [approximately 11.8% of total funding]

This priority covers a larger geographical area than the rest of the Programme and includes participation from Russian partners. The aim is to strengthen Sami culture and industry by creating opportunities for broader and better structured business cooperation.

Priority 5: Technical Assistance [approximately 7.2% 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 'North'

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

CCI no


Number of decision


Final approval date


Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Development of the Economy 9 095 705 6 063 803 15 159 508
Research, Development and Education 9 241 454 6 160 969 15 402 423
Regional Functionality and Identity 9 241 454 6 160 969 15 402 423
Sápmi – Unbounded Development 4 349 845 2 342 224 6 692 069
Technical Assistance 2 037 988 2 037 988 4 075 976
Total 33 966 446 22 765 953 56 732 399