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For the applicants

What kind of projects does the EU support?

EU funding promotes the versatile development of the whole of Finland. Structural Funds support projects that boost business, innovations, networking, knowledge, and employment. Priorities include Eastern and Northern Finland, sparsely populated areas, cross-border areas, and the areas of Southern and Western Finland that are challenging in terms of development.

The four priorities of the Structural Fund programmes direct the allocation of resources and the granting of support. The projects may support both the sustainable development of urban areas and the diversification of rural industries. The activities carried out in Finland may be regional, interregional, or international.

The priorities are:

Promotion of business and entrepreneurship

The objective of EU financing is both to create more and better jobs, and to safeguard existing jobs. Therefore, financing is directed at enterprises that provide jobs and which may be newly established, growth-oriented, or enterprises in the  process of transition. The maintenance of the competitiveness and the improvement of productivity of small and medium-sized enterprises are also essential elements in the promotion of business. The development of skilled personnel and of organisations is a competitive factor.

During the Structural Fund period 2007–2013, special attention will be paid to service-sector enterprises that create new jobs. Enterprises operating in the main industries of different areas may also be eligible for support. Regional well-being is often based on the development of regionally important industries.

Promotion of innovation and networking and strengthening of knowledge structures

Important actors of the Finnish innovation network include universities, polytechnics, research institutions, centres of expertise and technology, and enterprises. Support from the European Union helps strengthen the cooperation between these actors and generate new ideas, products, and services.

When different actors join forces, their new ideas and other results of their cooperation will benefit the entire area. EU support can be used to transfer the special knowledge generated in the area to other parts of Finland or the European Union, when regional innovation organisations establish networks at the national or international level. Support is directed at projects designed to improve innovation and knowledge structures, and strengthen the role of applied research.

Knowledge, labour, employment and entrepreneurship

Activities eligible for support also include the improvement of the employees’ knowledge, boosting entrepreneurship, and the development of organisations. Project financing is directed at supporting the employment of young people, unemployed adults, immigrants, disabled people, and people at risk of social exclusion. Support will be allocated to enterprises and sectors with the greatest need for development and a change caused by restructuring.

Beneficiaries of successful projects include individuals who have found a job and organisations that have developed. Better knowledge, innovation, labour, and enterprise service systems improve the functioning of the labour market and promote employment.

Good systems and practices developed in Finland can even be distributed to other parts of Europe, and vice versa, good practices are imported to Finland from other Member States of the European Union.

Improvement of the accessibility of areas and the operating environment

Structural Fund programmes also strengthen regional competitiveness by improving the accessibility and attractiveness of areas and their services. They also help level out regional disparities and improve the quality of the environment. The objective is to turn a socially and environmentally sustainable environment into a significant competitive factor for the areas.

The improvement of the accessibility of areas includes support for small-scale transport and logistics projects, the development of information society services, and virtual services. The attractiveness of operating environments is enhanced by protecting and developing natural and cultural environments. Tourism is supported by paying attention to the diverse opportunities of nature and culture.