European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

The European Regional Development Fund is one of the European Cohesion Policy funds that aims to reduce development disparities between countries and regions, create vitality, improve employment, support sustainable growth, and increase competitiveness. The fund supports these objectives by financ-ing various development projects. The fund also supports sustainable urban development.

Finland’s objectives

The actions of the European Regional Development Fund have been assembled under the Innovation and Skills in Finland 2021−2027 programme. The programme has three priority areas to finance ERDF projects. In addition, there are specific objectives under each priority area, which describe the content of the pro-gramme in more detail.

Innovative Finland (priority area 1)
1.1 Enhancing research and innovation capacities and the uptake of advanced technologies: The principal objective is to increase the RDI intensity and to promote business-oriented innovation activities, with due consideration given to the climate and sustainable development objectives.

1.2 Reaping the benefits of digitalisation for citizens, companies and public governance: The pro-gramme aims to make full use of the business opportunities related to digitalisation, the data economy and technological transitions. The uptake and scaling of RDI results that promote digital-isation are key enablers of business growth.

1.3 Enhancing growth and competitiveness of SMEs: The objective is the resource-smart growth of SMEs in domestic and foreign markets and the renewal of their operations by supporting their capabilities for growth and internationalisation, business competence, digitalisation, as well as in-vestments and RDI activities that promote growth, renewal and productivity.

Carbon neutral Finland (priority area 2)
2.1 Promoting energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions: The objective is to pro-mote transformation in the energy system that aims at rapid and significant reduction of green-house gas emissions. Systemic transformation affects energy-intensive industry, building stock and energy production, among other things.

2.2 Promoting climate change adaptation, risk prevention, and disaster prevention and resili-ence: Climate change adaptation means active preparation for the effects of climate change, an-ticipation and reduction of the negative effects, and seizing the opportunities created by the posi-tive effects. Adaptation is essential alongside the actions to mitigate climate change. Despite the generally good level of preparedness in society, regions, livelihoods and populations are vulnera-ble to the effects of climate change.

2.3 Promoting the transition to a circular economy: A carbon-neutral circular economy reduces material waste, emissions and needs for transport, improves the competitiveness of companies, and addresses the needs of consumers. The sustainable and economical use of natural resources and the promotion of material efficiency in various production processes, from energy produc-tion to the mining industry and in the operations of the public sector, are key objectives of the cir-cular economy.

More accessible Finland (priority area 3)
​​​​​​​3.1 Developing regional and local accessibility: The measures
will improve and modernise road and logistics connections that are important for the competi-tiveness of SMEs, the interconnectivity of different modes of mobility and transport, road connec-tions and services that develop business and the operating environment of SMEs, walking and cy-cling connections, and road safety. The measures will only be implemented in eastern and north-ern Finland, using separate funding allocated to sparsely populated areas in the north.

The EU funding received by Finland from the European Regional Development Fund is approximately EUR 837 million. In addition, national public and private funding will be channelled into the measures, bringing the total ERDF funding for the 2021-2027 programming period to approximately EUR 1.5 billion.

​​​​​​​The ERDF Regulation