EU regional and structural policy funds

Finland receives support from three regional and structural policy funds in the EU.

European Regional Development Fund

The goal of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is to even out disparities in development between countries and regions, create vitality, boost employment, support sustainable growth and increase competitiveness. The Fund supports these objectives by funding various development projects. The Fund also supports sustainable urban development. 

Finland’s objective is an innovative, carbon-neutral and more accessible Finland. Research and innovation capabilities of regions and companies will be promoted with a particular focus on business and working life and the introduction of new technologies will be advanced. Digitalisation will be utilised for the benefit of citizens, businesses and public administration. Energy efficiency and the circular economy will be promoted and greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced. Funding will also be allocated to measures to prepare for climate change. In addition, SMEs in eastern and northern Finland will be supported by developing local road transport infrastructure with separate funding for sparsely populated areas. 

European Social Fund Plus

The European Social Fund Plus (ESF +) aims to improve employment, skills and inclusion. In Finland, the funding is used to support employment, skills, development of working life, continuous learning and flexible educational paths. It also supports the wellbeing of clients of child welfare services, especially children and young people placed outside the home, and to help them cope with everyday life. Additionally, the aim is to help those in a disadvantaged position by providing support for the purchase of food and basic commodities. 

The projects support the employment of jobseekers and people outside the labour market in the open labour market and, in cooperation with companies and other employers, make use of different options to tailor work tasks for those looking for employment. Supporting continuous learning enables flexible educational paths for all, while taking into account groups under-represented in education, by utilising new practices and digitalisation, for example. Those in the most disadvantageous labour market position will be supported in integration into society, education and the labour market, which improves their inclusion and prevents social exclusion. The timely and effective provision of services for young people will be promoted by developing open care, substitute care and after-care in child welfare. In addition, people in the most difficult position will be supported with food and basic commodities. 

Just Transition Fund

The Just Transition Fund (JTF) aims to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change within the European Union. The goal will be achieved by supporting the regions and employees that will be affected by the transition most, and by promoting a balanced socio-economic transition. In Finland, the JTF will compensate for the socio-economic and environmental effects of halving the use of peat for energy. The JTF will be implemented in 14 JTF regions with the help of regional transition plans. 

The goal is to diversify business, adapt the sector’s workforce and offset the adverse environmental impacts. The measures for diversifying business and industry address the development potential presented in each region’s smart specialisation strategy, focusing on jobs in the green economy, new green technology solutions and new business opportunities. The measures for retraining and re-employing the workforce will primarily be targeted at individuals who have lost their work in the peat sector and those who are at a risk of unemployment in the sector, with a focus on young people. The skills and capabilities of peat entrepreneurs in, for example, harvesting and peat remediation will be improved to enable new business. Regions no longer used in peat production will be restored and remediated, and their intended use will be changed to reduce environmental and emissions impacts and to diversify business. 

More information on the funds and the Innovation and Skills in Finland 2021–2027 programme, which guides the implementation of funding, is available in the online service of EU’s regional and structural policy

Further information: Johanna Osenius, Petra Metsälä