The Structural Funds are among the European Union's most important instruments for implementing the cohesion policy.
Reducing the economic and social differences between European regions and inhabitants is central to succeeding in the overall goal of the Lisbon Strategy - to become "the world's most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy by 2010, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and improved jobs and greater social cohesion".
The cohesion policy of the European Union has three main objectives. Sweden is eligible for support under two of these objectives, "Regional competitiveness and employment" and "European territorial cooperation". The third and most prioritised objective is "Convergence" and it aims to stimulate growth and employment in the least developed European regions.
There are two Structural Funds:
For the new programming period 2007-2013, Sweden has received about 15 billion SEK in structural funds. About 13 billion SEK will finance measures within the objective "Regional Competitiveness and Employment" and about 2 billion SEK will finance measures within the objective "Territorial Cooperation". All structural funds demand national public co-funding. The sum varies but in most cases it is equal to the sum allocated from the Structural Funds.
Sweden has identified four national strategic priorities for regional competitiveness, entrepreneurship and employment:
In Sweden, one national and eight regional programmes are working under the "Regional competitiveness and employment" objective.
The eight regional programmes are called Regional Structural Fund programmes for regional competitiveness and employment. They work on the "Innovation and renewal" and "Accessibility" priorities. Measures are adapted to suit the specific regional and local conditions. The sparsely populated regions in the north of Sweden and the three metropolitan regions need special attention and have supplementary guidelines. The regional programmes are funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Tilllväxtverket is the managing authority.
The National Structural Fund programme for regional competitiveness and employment works on the "Skills supply and improved workforce supply" priority. It is funded by the European Social Fund and the managing authority is the Swedish ESF Council.
The "Territorial cooperation" objective is financed by the European Regional Development Fund. It coincides with the fourth priority of the Swedish government, "Strategic cross-border cooperation". Sweden participates in nine-teen territorial cooperation programmes and Tillväxtverket is the managing authority of one of the programmes, the cross-border programme Öresund-Kattegat-Skagerrak.
Download and read about all projects in the publication,
Connecting Öresund-Kattegat-Skagerrak. Cooperation projects in Interreg IV A
The organisational structure for implementing the regional programmes is made up of Tillväxtverket as the managing authority, eight Structural Fund partnerships, responsible for setting priorities among the approved projects, and three monitoring committees ensuring the quality of the implementation. The managing authority has one joint unit, supporting the eight units situated in each regional programme area.