The Innovation and Skills in Finland 2021–2027 programme promotes regional vitality, employment and wellbeing

Each Member State prepares a programme for each EU cohesion policy programme period, describing the starting points, goals and measures defined by the Member State for development activities, as well as funding in accordance with regulations on the EU’s programme period. Finland’s programme has been prepared in broad cooperation with representatives of ministries, regions and organisations. The European Commission approved Finland’s programme in May 2022.

The Innovation and Skills in Finland 2021–2027 programme supports business, energy, climate, innovation, education and employment policies, as well as activities against exclusion and poverty. It includes the measures of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) and the Just Transition Fund (JTF).

The programme supports innovation, competence development and inclusion in line with sustainable development. The cross-cutting priorities of the Innovation and Skills in Finland 2021–2027 programme are sustainable development, gender equality, non-discrimination, digital development, internationalisation, climate change and innovation. These priorities are part of all measures. Of ERDF funding, 35 per cent is allocated to climate action.

The implementation of the programme started with calls for project applications in the spring of 2022. Funding is granted by regional councils, the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres), and the Finnish Food Authority.

The new cohesion policy period takes place in 2021–2027. The programme’s funding consists of EU and national funding. The programme’s public funding amounts to EUR 3,159 billion, of which EUR 1.935 billion comes from the EU and EUR 1.224 billion consists of national co-financing. 

The programme consists of seven priority areas:

  1. Innovative Finland (ERDF): The objective is to promote research and innovation capabilities of regions and companies with a particular focus on business and working life, and the introduction of new technologies. Funding will advance the growth and competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Another objective is to utilise digitalisation for the benefit of citizens, businesses and public administration.
  2. Carbon neutral Finland (ERDF): The aim is to promote energy efficiency and the circular economy and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Funding will also be allocated to measures to prepare for climate change.
  3. More accessible Finland (ERDF): The objective is to support SMEs in Eastern and Northern Finland by developing local road transport infrastructure with separate funding for sparsely populated areas.
  4. Competent and inclusive Finland that provides work (ESF+): The objective is to support employment, skills, working life development, continuous learning and flexible educational paths.
  5. Finland of social innovations (ESF+): The aim is to support the everyday lives and wellbeing of children who are clients of child welfare services and, in particular, those children and young people who are placed outside their home.
  6. Finland that prevents material deprivation (ESF+): The aim is to help those in a disadvantaged position by providing support for the purchase of food and basic commodities. At the same time, the aim is to make available other services that improve the situation of those receiving aid.
  7. Finland of just transition (JTF): The objective is a regionally just transition for discounting the use of peat, adapting the sector’s workforce and restoring adverse environmental impacts.

Further information (in Finnish):

The Innovation and Skills in Finland 2021–2017 programme (27.4.2023)
The Commission's approval of the programme