Scotland and Finland can learn from each other and work together to secure EU funding to help with shared issues, External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said. Arriving in Helsinki for a two day visit which will focus on building stronger links between Scotland and Finland, Ms Hyslop said the two countries have much to gain from working together.
Ms Hyslop will undertake a series of meetings with the Finnish Government, and will meet representatives from the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy, to discuss potential for Scotland and Finland to work together to obtain EU funding.
Later this year the EU funded programme for 2014-2020 aimed at countries in the Northern Europe will be launched. The Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme will be open to three or more countries working together to pursue shared opportunities or solve common problems and builds on positive and successful experience with the previous programme.
Scotland and Finland already have a track record of working together on similar projects, and under previous funding rounds have worked on projects to improve health services in sparsely populated areas, help social enterprises become involved in Community Renewable Energy and have helped communities in Northern Europe adjust to the impacts of climate change.
As an example of this, on Wednesday of this week a Finnish delegation met Scottish business people in Edinburgh to discuss renewable energy with a view to partnership projects in Finland with a joint Scottish/Finn operation.
Ms Hyslop said:
“Scotland and Finland already benefit from our close relationship, and the Scottish Government is committed to strengthening and supporting this relationship.
“We share a common goal of using innovation, expertise and international co-operation to promote sustainable economic growth.
“We have a good record of working together to secure EU funding to work on areas which will benefit us both – for example adjusting to the impact of climate change on northern areas.
“During this visit I will meet with representatives from the Finnish Government and identify ways we can build on these successes.
“I’ll also take the opportunity to look into other areas where we can learn from each other, including architecture, innovation and culture.”