Brussels, 7 October 2014
European Commission adopts ‘Partnership Agreement’ with Finland on using EU Structural and Investment Funds for growth and jobs in 2014-2020
The European Commission has adopted a "Partnership Agreement" with Finland setting down the strategy for the optimal use of European Structural and Investment Funds throughout the country. Today’s agreement paves the way for investing €1.47 billion in total Cohesion Policy funding over 2014-2020 (current prices, including European Territorial Cooperation funding). Finland also receives €2.38 billion for rural development and €74.4 million for fisheries and the maritime sector.
The EU investments will help tackle unemployment and boost competitiveness and economic growth through support to innovation, training and education in cities, towns and rural areas. They will also promote entrepreneurship, fight social exclusion and help to develop an environmentally friendly and a resource-efficient economy.
The European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) are:
Commenting on the adoption, Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn said: "Today we have adopted a vital, strategic investment plan that sets Finland on the path to jobs and growth for the next 10 years. This Partnership Agreement reflects the European Commission and Finland's joint determination to make the most efficient use of EU funding. Our investments must be strategic, according to the new Cohesion Policy- focusing on the real economy, on sustainable growth and investing in people. This plan will provide support to world class R&D and innovation, help SMEs to grow, internationalise and be more competitive and assist in diversifying the economic base of Finnish regions. Furthermore, it will address the specific challenges of the Northern Sparsely Populated Areas and provide an important contribution to the shift to low-carbon economy. But quality not speed is the paramount aim and in the coming months we are fully dedicated to negotiating the best possible outcome for investments from the European Structural and Investment Funds in 2014-2020. Commitment is needed on all sides to ensure good quality programmes are put in place.”
Commissioner Hahn added: "This investment strategy builds on the important contribution Finland is already making to help the EU meet its goals of achieving sustainable smart and inclusive growth. Finland now has a firm base in this Partnership Agreement that covers all Structural and Investment Funds and gives strategic direction to future programmes that will enhance innovation, transform Finnish SMEs into models of growth, and secure Finland's leading role in boosting innovation and new technologies. The ESI Funds are helping Finland's regions and cities to face these challenges."
Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor said: "I congratulate Finland on the adoption of the Partnership Agreement and thank the Finnish authorities for the good cooperation in preparing it. Finland has made well-justified strategic choices for the use of the European Social Fund (ESF), well in line with the Europe 2020 targets. I am convinced that the €515 million from the European Social Fund to be invested during 2014-2020 can have a valuable leverage effect in the promotion of employment, education and social inclusion in Finland, helping to keep its 'knowledge economy' competitive. It is also positive that special focus in all implemented measures will be put on the young, the unemployed and older people – those who are in greatest need of support and in whose lives European funding can make the biggest difference."
Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Cioloş said:
“Rural Development is a vital pillar of our Common Agricultural Policy, addressing elements relating to economic, environmental and social issues in rural areas, but in a way which allows Member States or regions to design programmes suitable for their own specific situations and priorities. The concept of Partnership Agreements is very important to ensure that national or regional authorities, when drafting their Rural Development programmes, have an approach which is coherent with plans that they are drafting for other EU structural measures in order to complement and be coordinated with such schemes where possible and thereby obtain a greater efficiency in the use of EU taxpayers’ money.”
Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki said:
“When it comes to fisheries and the maritime sector, the Commission very much welcomes the Finnish approach which strikes the right balance between a focus on innovation and the specific needs of local communities. I am confident that this is the right approach to unlock the sort of growth and jobs which Europe needs and which the EU is committed to making a reality. We will not prescribe how every single cent should be spent; but let those who know their craft, industry, and regions best to work towards a sustainable future."
All Member States have now presented their Partnership Agreements to the Commission. The adoption of these agreements will follow after a process of consultation.
MEMO on Partnership Agreements and Operational Programmes