Southern Finland's development priorities

During the 2014–2020 structural fund programme period, the regional plan for the major regions of Southern and Western Finland will be implemented in Southern Finland, Finland's structural funds programme Sustainable Growth and Labour 2014-2020 will steer the selection of development projects and investments, but the each region's own intelligent specialisation policies will be in a key role. These policies are outlined in each region's strategy. Southern Finland comprises six regions, each of which has its own development priorities approved by its regional management committee. For more information on each region's priorities, please see the region's own page. In addition to regional funding that Southern Finland receives, national development programmes are an alternative source of funding projects.

Southern Finland intends to use structural funds to diversify its economic structure and increase the number of growing, innovative and internationalising companies located there. Companies are encouraged to develop new products and services especially for the international market and to adopt the use of innovations that will promote productivity. SMEs are also supported in developing their growth potential and new business, in specialisation and increasing network-like cooperation. The Innovative Cities Programme plays a key role in the development of the products and services of SMEs and development of activities that will broaden their innovation base.

In order to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse emissions, the programme aims to increase the share of renewable energy and local energy sources and improve energy and material efficiency. In Southern Finland, promoting bioeconomy is one part of the key procedures implemented to promote low carbon activities. Similarly, energy efficiency and resource wisdom are listed as priorities in the programme. Structural and functional changes, which will not only promote low carbon emissions, but also open up pioneer markets for the area's companies, must be promoted in urban areas
Southern Finland's structural funds will finance activities for the good of young people and others, who find it difficult to find employment.  Groups that have a hard time finding employment in Southern Finland include immigrants and people with a foreign background.

Key targets throughout Finland include promotion of employment and prevention of social exclusion among young people... The objective is to ensure that the quality and amount of education offered meet with what is needed in the labour market. As many young people as possible enter a degree programme immediately after they graduate from comprehensive school. They then enter the labour market as smoothly as possible after a vocational or university education. The professional expertise of those in danger of falling into social exclusion and those, who learn in different ways, will also be taken into account.

Structural funds are used in the pursuit to decrease social disparity by influencing e.g. education and employment possibilities and supporting social networks and those in a vulnerable position and by developing uniform accessibility to and quality of services. Special focus will be given to the wellbeing and improved health of unemployed persons and those unable to work fulltime. Successful immersion into the jobs market and working are the primary and most sustainable methods to prevent poverty, inequality and social exclusion.

Regional management committees

Each region's regional management committee coordinates structural fund activities throughout their own region. The committee also monitors and supervises the systematic realisation of structural fund programmes. The members of a regional management committee comprise representatives from different trade unions, the region's authorities and the region's largest municipalities.   The minutes for regional management committee meetings can be found under the section that lists each region's priorities.

Partnership a theme throughout Southwest Finland's regional strategy

Southwest Finland's regional strategy includes the regional plan for 2035+ and the regional programme for 2014-2017. The regional plan is a strategic long-term plan, which highlights the objectives and strategy for development of the region.  It is a comprehensive description of the regions factors of success and is based discussions on values that incorporated different points of view.

The region's vision is "southwest Finland's quality of life is the best in all of Finland. A successful region characterised by wellbeing is built through cooperation and partnership".
A common theme throughout is partnership and team work between the area's actors. The regional plan includes key projects and procedures for development. The programme is the desired state shared by the entire region. The strategy has been named the partnership strategy,

  • There are four priority axes for the strategy:
  • Responsibility – the future is made of today's choices
  • Cooperation skills – crossing boundaries together
  • Accessibility – an accessible gateway to the Baltic Sea
  • Resource wisdom – innovative forerunner

The regional plans four priority axes form a clear explanation on how responsibility, cooperation skills, accessibility and resource wisdom have been realised and how they will be evident in Southwest Finland in 2035.