European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) objective 2021–2027
The Interreg programmes of the European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) objective supports cross-border cooperation primarily between EU Member States at trans-national and interregional level. A total of about EUR 9 billion has been allocated to the ETC objective from the European Regional Development Fund in the period 2021–2027. This is about 4% of all financing provided by the structural funds.
Finland is participating in eight Interreg programmes during the period 2021–2027:
- Aurora and Central Baltic cross-border cooperation programmes at the northern, western and southern borders,
- wider regional cooperation programmes Baltic Sea Region and Northern Periphery and the cooperation programmes of the Arctic countries; and
- EU-wide Interreg Europe interregional cooperation programme and the URBACT IV urban cooperation programme.
Together with all the other EU Member States, Finland also takes part in the Interact IV programme, which supports Interreg programmes, and the ESPON 2030 research programme.
During the period 2021–2027, Finland does not participate in the EU’s Interreg NEXT external border cooperation programmes.
INTERREG and URBACT programmes
The following policy objectives are central to the Interreg programmes mentioned above:
- A smarter Europe through innovation, digitalisation, economic change and support for small and medium-sized enterprises,
- A greener, low-carbon Europe that implements the Paris Agreement and invests in the energy transition, renewable energy and the combat against climate change,
- A more social Europe that implements the European Pillar of Social Rights and supports high-quality jobs, education, skills and social inclusion.
In addition, the programmes support the specific Interreg objective of improving the cooperation governance for Europe (ISO1).
The total ERDF funding for the above-mentioned Interreg programmes is approximately EUR 1.1 billion. There are no funding quotas for the Member States participating in the programmes. In other words, the amount of funding Finland receives depends on the number of co-financed projects Finnish operators participate in.
Each programme has its own managing authority, and except for the Central Baltic programme, they are all located outside Finland.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment acts as the national authority responsible for Interreg programmes. The ministry is represented in the monitoring committees of all programmes and provides information about the programmes and their implementation in Finland.
For more information about Interreg programmes, please visit structuralfunds.fi and the programme websites:
Further information: petri.haapalainen(at)gov.fi
URBACT IV programme
The objective of the URBACT programme is to work together and develop integrated solutions to common urban challenges, by networking, learning from one another’s experiences, drawing lessons and identifying good practices to improve urban policies. The URBACT IV programme is a tool for cities to participate in networking and exchange experiences on various urban development themes with other European cities.
All EU Member States plus the Partner States of Norway and Switzerland participate in the programme. In addition, five countries that are part of the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) can participate in the programme during the period 2021–2027. These include Albania, North Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro and Türkiye.
The objectives of the URBACT IV programme are:
- Strengthen the development competence of European cities through international networks.
- Use programme-level tools to support cities’ development competence and capacity.
- Ensure easy access to and dissemination of knowledge and practices generated by URBACT to urban developers, in particular through the European Urban Initiative and the Urban Agenda for the EU.
The national contact point for the URBACT programme (NUP, National Urbact Point), which provides information on the programme’s call for applications and other topical issues, is the Spatia Centre for Regional Research operating at the University of Eastern Finland.
Inquiries: Olli Voutilainen, olli.voutilainen(at)gov.fi
ESPON 2030 Cooperation Programme
The ESPON (European Observation Network for Territorial Development and Cohesion) research programme aims to improve the knowledge base of regional planning and development and support cooperation between EU Member States in these areas. All EU Member States plus the Partner States of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland take part in the programme.
The programme is carried out as projects that involve research institutes in different parts of Europe. Most of the work is applied research in which the focus is on regional development and planning, regional structures, development prospects and policy impacts at European level. The project organisers are selected in open tenders.
In addition to projects involving applied research, there are also targeted analyses tailored to the needs of data users. Local, regional and national operators can submit proposals for analysis themes in the whole programme area.
ESPON 2030 is one of the structural fund programmes for European-level territorial cooperation. The programme produces information for decision-making at EU, national and regional level. The first ESPON programme was launched in 2002.
The network of national contact points (ECP, ESPON Contact Point) plays a key role in the implementation of the programme. In Finland, the Finnish Environment Institute acts as the national contact point.
More information is available at Espon website
Further information: satu.tolonen(at)gov.fi