Finland getting record sum from EU structural funds to help country over recession
The European Union is helping Finland cope with the recession with a record amount of EUR 890 million.
The money is to be used to encourage new business activities and job creation and training in the difficult cyclical situation.
Minister of Economic Affairs Mauri Pekkarinen (Centre Party) said on Thursday in Jyväskylä that last year, Finland got EUR 600 million from the European Regional Development Fund and the European Structural Fund.
The increase of nearly 50 per cent for this year was made possible by including money that was left unused in 2007 and 2008. Also, some funds earmarked for 2011 are being distributed in advance.
“Although most forecasts indicate that the downward spiral has stopped, and that there are signs of growth, it will take plenty of time before we get back to the same level where we were in the early part of 2008", Pekkarinen noted.
Finland’s annual GDP has declined by EUR 13-14 billion, and Finland is going more rapidly into debt than most EU countries.
Pekkarinen says that the markets need to be persuaded that a turn for the better has taken place, through decisions related to income, taxation, and other aspects of working life.
Money from the Regional Development Fund will be used to stimulate the development of enterprises, investments, technology, and research.
The grant from the European Social Fund will be used to curb growth in unemployment, and to weaken the negative impact of unemployment by targeting support for job-lined education for young people and for those in academic fields, as well as for subsidised employment, and start money for enterprises.
Pekkarinen credits the EU’s structural funds with helping create 22,000 new jobs and 3,200 new businesses.
So far, 44 per cent of the job creation goals, 24% of the aims for establishing businesses, and 14% of the Social Fund goals have been achieved.
The programme period continues through the end of 2013. The Ministry of Employment and the Economy estimates that in the course of seven years, Finland will get EUR 6.1 billion through the structural fund programme.