EU aid for urban development

Six biggest cities - 6AIKA

Finland’s biggest cities, Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Turku and Oulu, are joining forces to promote sustainable urban development as part of Finland’s structural fund programme for sustainable growth and jobs. The activities will take place under the auspices of the 6AIKA strategy, which the six cities have created for the purpose and which will cover the period 2014 - 2020.

The strategy has three focus areas:
1) In open innovation platforms, new products and services are created and tested in real conditions.
2) In open data and interfaces, opened data will serve as the raw material for new services and activities.
3) The open participation and customership brings together the city community to develop service innovations and customer processes.

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the cities involved and other project partners and the State of Finland are providing almost EUR 80 million for 6AIKA projects. The European Social Fund (ESF) is also granting financing for the projects. The ERDF funding is administered by the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council and the ESF funding by the ELY Centre for Häme.

Further information: hanna-maria.urjankangas(at)

Community-led local development

During the programming period 2014 - 2020, associations in a number of cities and local residents may also seek aid for local development as part of the structural fund programme. The Regional Management Committee lays out the measures for individual cities. Community-led development of centres of Finland’s urban regions with more than 23,000 residents that is based on a partnership between cities and associations is supported in accordance with the principles laid out in Finland’s structural fund programme. Thus, the approach used in the strategy resembles the Leader method.
Structural funds

Further information: johanna.osenius(at)

URBACT III – European cities are exchanging experiences and learning from each other

URBACT is a Community Initiative Programme of the EU that promotes the exchanging of experiences between European cities. The aim of the programme is to collect and disseminate good operating models for urban development through experience-sharing networks, working groups and research.

Encouraged by the positive results of the URBACT I and II programmes, the EU decided to launch URBACT III, which will end in 2020. A national information point for the programme will be established this year.

For more information, visit the programme website 


Urban Innovative Actions (UIA), a new financing instrument of the EU for innovative urban projects

 Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) is an initiative of the European Commission, in which the aim is to find new innovative solutions for urban challenges. Financing for UIA comes from the ERDF. A total of EUR 372 million will be allocated to projects in the cities of the Member States through the initiative between 2014 and 2020. UIA encourages cities to take risks, join forces with partners and to apply more innovative and creative solutions to challenges that they are facing.

The first call for proposals closed on 31 March 2016. Each call for proposals has its own themes and during the first call the themes are as follows:

1. urban poverty
2. integration of migrants and refugees
3. jobs and skills in the local economy
4. energy transition

The MME encourages Finnish cities to seek funding for their innovative projects through UIA.

For more information about the initiative, visit the UIA website