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Finland’s development is a shared goal for Finns. It is in everyone’s interests that the best development ideas are also implemented – either without external assistance or in cooperation with others. Ideas can become reality with support from the European Union (EU). EU resources provide leverage that help Finns turn their ideas into practical development projects.

The EU finances projects from Structural Funds, which are designed to reduce the disparities between different regions and to improve the competition environment of the weakest regions and people’s employment prospects. Financing from the European Union is designed to develop the whole of Finland: Finnish people, enterprises, and localities.

Support from the European Union is additional financing to Finland’s national development. Finland will receive approximately EUR 1.7 billion from the EU’s Structural Funds in 2007–2013. The benefit will, however, be greater than the sum of money granted, because leverage will be obtained from new action models and knowledge that the projects will generate. Finland will receive EU funding for the development of both regional competitiveness and employment and for cooperation with other EU Member States. The total amount of national public financing committed to EU programmes will be EUR 2.01 billion; this sum will come from the State (75%) and the municipalities (25%). In addition, it is estimated that approximately EUR 2.3 billion in private financing will be used for the programmes.

Support from the European Union’s Structural Funds will be directed to Finland’s development through programmes co-financed from two funds, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF).

Of the resources, 93% (EUR 1.6 billion) will be directed through programmes under the EU’s Regional Competitiveness and Employment objective. Programmes under the Regional Competitiveness and Employment objective will be implemented throughout Finland, although Eastern and Northern Finland will receive more aid because of their sparse population. The Åland Islands will receive financing from the EU’s Structural Funds in accordance with programmes dedicated to this area.

The remainder of the financing will be used for the European Regional Cooperation objective and the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI CBC).

Programmes under the European Regional Cooperation objective are used for financing cross-border, transnational, or interregional cooperation projects within the EU, whereas the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI CBC) is designed to finance cooperation projects that cross the EU’s external boundaries.

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