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Commission approves Objective 2 and 6 Structural Fund programmes in Finland

On a proposal from Mrs. Monika Wulf-Mathies, Commissioner responsible for regional policy, the Commission approved on 21 June 1995 the Objective 2 and 6 Structural Fund programmes in Finland.

The programme for Objective 2 will assist six industrial areas in the south and west...
On a proposal from Mrs. Monika Wulf-Mathies, Commissioner responsible for regional policy, the Commission approved on 21 June 1995 the Objective 2 and 6 Structural Fund programmes in Finland.

The programme for Objective 2 will assist six industrial areas in the south and west of Finland. These areas, which are scarcely populated and are centres of traditional heavy industry, need to diversify in order to create new jobs, since unemployment in the areas is around 23%.

The programme focuses on new business development, training and research to improve the economic structure of the areas. Business development receives about 50% of the total public funding, human resources 21%, the environment, infrastructure and tourism 28%, while the remainder will go to technical assistance.

A total of ECU 179 million of public funds (ECU 69 million of it coming from the EU) will be spent on the programme over the two years of its operation. The breakdown of EU funding is 80% from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and 20% from the European Social Fund (ESF). There will be a new programme for 1997-1999.

In the Objective 6 areas, which cover the whole of the north and most of the east of the country, 16.6% of the population of Finland live in 60% of the national territory. The problem addressed by the Structural Fund programme is how to maintain population in these remote areas, given the fact that the shares of agriculture and public services in employment are declining.

The strategy is to develop new business activities to diversify employment opportunities. The priorities are sectors with good growth prospects such as forestry and tourism and already established branches of advanced technology in fields such as the environment, energy, arctic technology and telecommunications.

A large proportion of the programme is, however, devoted to maintenance of agricultural incomes and to facilitating orderly structural change in this sector. The Objective 6 programme is for five years (1995-1999) and involves total public funding of ECU 991 million, of which ECU 460 million comes from the EU.

Some 31% of the total public funding goes to business development, 18% to human resources and 50% to agriculture, forestry, rural development and the environment. The remainder will be spent on technical assistance. The breakdown between the various funds is 37.6% from the ERDF, 23% from the ESF, 38.6% from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) and O.8% from the Financial Instrument of Fisheries Guidance (FIFG).

Both programmes will be implemented in close partnership between central government and the regions through a series of regional management committees comprising all local interests, including the social partners, and reporting to a national Monitoring Committee.
It is expected that the Commission will give its final consent before mid-July, making Finland the first of the three new Member States to obtain approval of Structural Fund programmes. Implementation can begin immediately after signature.
DE

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