Reader ‘s opinion The foundations of the EU’s regional and structural funds should not be slipped

What keeps Finland inhabited and functional in general are companies located in different parts of the country and a diverse SME field.

Tampere Mayor Lauri Lyly and Pirkanmaa Provincial Director Esa Halme repeated (HS Opinion 15.6.) the views already expressed for the distribution of EU regional and structural fund support in southern and western Finland.

Each province and region naturally defends its own. Still, we do not get anywhere from the fact that by abandoning the registration of the government program and the 1994 accession treaty, Finland would at the same time jeopardize the foundations of the entire regional and structural funds. In the worst case scenario, EU funding could be crossed in the EU. The basis for the division of the EU’s regional and structural policy is the recognition of the special regions of Eastern and Northern Finland. Climate and distances are a fact, not an opinion.

There are many studies and interpretations of the attractiveness of regions and the effectiveness of universities and innovation. It is bold to argue that Structural Fund resources in general would give rise to better effectiveness in the West than in the East. If the number of companies or universities were a criterion for efficiency, globally all business activity would be concentrated in a well-defined area.

For each programming period, the Finnish government has made its own decisions, by which support for a sparsely populated area has also been transferred to the south by national decisions. In this way, Southern Finland has also received the above-mentioned regional program funding all these years.

In addition, most of Finland’s public operations are cemented in the southern part of the country, as are investments in education and various types of development activities. Investments in fairways, railways and other infrastructure have been made profitably to the south. These have enabled tens of thousands of jobs.

What keeps Finland inhabited and functional in general are companies located in different parts of the country and a diverse SME field. It is useless to envy the number of regional subsidies granted to this group in recent years, the number of small streams they have been in the wider distribution of Finnish state and EU subsidies.

The concern to keep Finland alive is common to all actors. However, this will not be solved by the transfer of regional aid to congested Finland. The relative effectiveness of EU subsidies per capita may well be better in eastern and northern Finland than in southern Finland.

Paula Aikio-Tallgren

managing director

Savon Yrittäjät, Kuopio

Reader opinions are speeches written by HS readers, selected and delivered by the HS editorial board. You can leave a comment or read the principles of the writing at www.hs.fi/kirjtamielipidekirjoitus/.

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