EU structural funds

Finland receives assistance from two structural funds in the EU: the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund.

The aim of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is to increase employment and strengthen the competitiveness and vitality of regions. In the efforts to increase employment, the focus is on regions with the lowest employment rates.

The European Regional Development Fund supports the efforts to increase employment by providing financing

  • for promoting innovation and networking
  • for developing new environmental technologies
  • for making regions more accessible
  • for new and creative projects in the service sectors
  • facilitating generational transfers in companies
  • promoting the growth and strengthening the competitiveness of SMEs
  • for the development of operating environments and services promoting employment.

European Social Fund supports employment

European Social Fund supports employment

The aim of the European Social Fund (ESF) is to support employment and employment opportunities by developing skills and service structures. The financing provided by the European Social Fund can be used for promoting gender equality, combating social exclusion, developing skills, working conditions and employee well-being or developing systems that facilitate the functioning of the labour market and promote inclusion and employment.

The ESF supports the efforts to increase employment by providing financing

  • for reducing problems concerning the availability of the workforce
  • helping those becoming unemployed as a result of structural change to find jobs
  • helping young people to find jobs
  • promoting employment and longer working careers
  • for measures aiming to lower early school leaving among young people
  • for measures helping to prepare for the ageing of the workforce
  • for the development of personnel skills and work organisations
  • helping SMEs and employees to meet the challenges of globalisation
  • ensuring better match between education and working life and transfer to working life
  • for work-based immigration.

Structural fund activities began in Finland when Finland joined the European Union in 1995.

There is one programme in Finland that is in accordance with the objective 'Investment in growth and jobs' and it is being carried out separately in mainland Finland and Åland. The purpose of the programme, named 'Sustainable growth and jobs 2014 - 2020' is to implement the aims laid out by ERDF and ESF. Finland is also participating in cross-border regional cooperation programmes.

Further information: tapio.kojonsaari(at)