Operational Programme 'Southern Finland'

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


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The European Commission approved on 27 September 2007 a regional operational programme for Southern Finland region for the period 2007-2013, entitled "Etelä-Suomen EAKR-toimenpideohjelma" within the framework of the Competitiveness and employment objective. The programme covers the regions of Southwest Finland, Häme, Päijät-Häme, Kymenlaakso, Uusimaa, East Uusimaa and South Karelia with a population of approximately 2.60 million at the end of 2005.

The total budget of the programme is around EUR 345.2 million and the Community assistance through the ERDF amounts to EUR 138.1 million, which accounts for approximately 8 % of the total Structural Fund money invested in Finland during programming period 2007-2013.

1. The purpose and aim of the EU investment

The area of Southern Finland is at the cutting edge of development in Finland, forming the main artery for Finnish exports and imports. Strong sectors in Southern Finland include 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. Southern Finland is mainly an area of strong population growth, but several municipalities in this area also suffer from migration loss.

The region can be characterised as an entity with dense network of service centres, high level and relatively good availability of social welfare and health services and mainly functional transport network. Two main urban centres are also located in the programme area, namely Helsinki Metropolitan region and Turku region. Southern Finland is the most important node for international traffic and forms a key link to connections to Russia. Mismatch between labour supply and demand, the rapid ageing of the population and provision of services in changing demographic situation are the main challenges of the area. The protection of the Baltic Sea and management of environmental risks are also challenges.

During 2000-06 Southern Finland benefited from Structural Fund support of over EUR 228 million within the Southern Finland Objective 2 programme, with the help of which more than 13,500 new jobs were created, over 13,700 jobs were maintained, and nearly 2,300 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 Southern Finland is to strengthen international competitiveness, increase specialised knowledge, build and maintain strong networks and centres and create efficient and competitive community structure.

2. The expected impact of the investment

The programme aims to create 4,200 new jobs and 920 new enterprises. The aim is to use 15,5% of the financial framework to research and development projects creating 290 new R&D jobs. 81.6% 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. Priority axes

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

Priority 1: Promotion of business activity

This priority aims at developing productivity, creating more jobs and safeguarding existing jobs through supporting entrepreneurship and growth of enterprises and through improving access to business services and finance.

Priority 2: Promotion of innovation activity and networking, and reinforcing knowledge structures

This priority aims to activate expert networks with strong links to the national and international development projects of enterprises, universities, research institutes as well as regional businesses, and to support the creation and development of centres of excellence for key sectors.

Priority 3: Improving regional accessibility and operational environments

This priority will concentrate on three central areas of emphasis concerning regional competitiveness: a) Improvement of logistics connections, including ICT connections; b) Environmental risk management and improvement of tourism operating conditions; and c) Accessibility and development of services and applications.

Priority 4: Development of larger urban areas

The priority will provide support to promote the attractiveness, sense of community and social cohesion of towns and creating a pleasant and safe urban environment.

Priority 5: Thematic development at regional level

The aim of thematic targeting is to develop knowledge clusters in the area through broad, interregional umbrella projects. The themes are associated with the development of clusters, networks or sectors and pilot actions to provide and ensure various services, for example.

Priority 6: 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 'Southern Finland'

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
Promotion of Business activity 31 422 130 47 787 823 79 209 953
Promotion of innovation activity and networking, and reinforcing knowledge structures 28 778 350 43 767 075 72 545 425
Improving regional accessibililty and operational environments 28 601 716 43 498 443 72 100 159
Development of larger urban areas 6 627 030 10 078 608 16 705 638
Thematic development at regional level 37 111 366 56 440 202 93 551 568
Technical assistance 5 522 525 5 522 525 11 045 050
Total 138 063 117 207 094 676 345 157 793