Operational Programme 'Åland Islands'

Programme under Competitiveness and employment objective, co-funded by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)


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The European Commission approved on the 9 October 2007 a regional operational programme for Åland Islands NUTSII region for the period 2007-2013, entitled "Operativt program för Europeiska regionala utvecklingsfonden på Åland" within the framework of the Competitiveness and employment objective. The programme covers the NUTSIII region of Ahvenanmaa with a population of approximately 26.700 inhabitants at the end of 2005.

The total budget of the programme is around EUR 6.25 million and the Community assistance through the ERDF amounts to EUR 3.125 million.

1. The purpose and aim of the EU investment

The region of Åland Islands is characterised by its location and its' autonomous status from Finland. Åland is an archipelago, which consists of over 6.700 islands, between Finland and Sweden. Due to its location it has a long tradition in marine and shipping sector, which still is one of the main industrial sectors together with service sector. The main challenges of the region stem from its' ageing population and lack of higher education opportunities and structural problems relating to decline of agricultural jobs and regional development disparities between the main city of Mariehamn and the rest of the archipelago. The dependence on only few sectors (like marine and shipping) is a challenge. The environmental risks and the situation of the Baltic Sea are considered very important as the archipelago and its' environment are very vulnerable and as tourism, which heavily relies on the nature, is also important sector in Åland Islands.

During 2000-06 Åland Islands benefited from Structural Fund support of nearly EUR 4.8 million within the Åland Islands Objective 2 programme, with the help of which more than 200 new jobs were created, over 130 jobs were maintained, and nearly 30 new companies were created by the end of year 2006.

The new EU programme for 2007-13 aims to build on the success of the previous programme and the objective of the Competitiveness and employment programme for Åland Islands is to increase productivity (level of refinement of products is of major importance) and knowledge level in production processes and products. All this will be accomplished within the framework of sustainable development, to create conditions for a stable industry activity, safeguarded employment and good sources of income in the region. In addition, through interregional projects can archipelago and islands specific issues be lifted up.

2. The expected impact of the investment

The programme aims to improve the competitiveness in 50 existing enterprises and create 10 new enterprises. 30 new jobs will be created and 10 new products will be developed. 96% of the investment available has been earmarked for Lisbon-related expenditure, which is above the Community objective of 75% for Regional Competitiveness and Employment regions.

3. Priorities

The programme will be implemented through one main priority plus a Technical Assistance priority.

Priority 1: Business and innovation

This Priority aims at developing productivity, creating more jobs and safeguarding existing jobs through supporting entrepreneurship, innovation and growth of enterprises by developing new products and that the added value among existed products is increased. Know-how and the technology level will be increased through skills transfer and investment on increased international contacts.

Priority 2: Technical assistance

This Priority will provide support for programme management and implementation, including technical support, communications and publicity, research and evaluation actions.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Åland Islands'

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
Business and innovation 3 000 530 3 000 530 6 001 060
Technical assistance 125 022 125 022 250 044
Total 3 125 552 3 125 552 6 251 104