Skip to content

Evaluation report: Use of REACT-EU pandemic funding has succeeded well

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Publication date 31.1.2024 10.33 | Published in English on 9.2.2024 at 15.36
Press release

The REACT-EU additional funding allocated to regions and sectors most affected by the coronavirus pandemic has largely met the long-term development needs of companies and entrepreneurs. According to a recently completed final evaluation of the REACT-EU additional funding, the funding has been implemented successfully, considering the other pandemic-related funding instruments used at the same time.

 Relative to the usual structural funds, REACT-EU funding has, as a whole, provided exceptional and important additional funding especially in southern and western Finland. It was hoped that the REACT-EU funding would be targeted especially at sectors that have faced the greatest challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic. In eastern and northern Finland, the funding has increased the volume of structural fund activities, with a focus on the allocation of the support to the REACT-EU themes.

The business orientation of the projects and, on the other hand, their relevance and targeting in relation to the needs of the target groups have in general succeeded well. 

The largest amounts of REACT-EU additional funding were allocated to Uusimaa, North Ostrobothnia, Lapland, South Savo and North Savo. 

Damage caused by the pandemic repaired in companies and by improving skills

The REACT-EU funding has been used to address the social consequences of the pandemic. One means to achieve this has been to support entrepreneurs and companies and to improve competences to respond to the development needs highlighted by the pandemic. In addition, funding was allocated to preventing unemployment and improving the labour market position of employees by developing skills.

The funded projects have helped to enhance the participants’ digital skills and preconditions for employment. The projects have also been able to strengthen companies’ flexibility and ability to change in a proactive manner. Decisions on the continuation and development of companies, among other things, have been made during the projects. 

Evaluation offers lessons for structural fund activities

The report evaluated the use of additional funding in terms of its effectiveness, efficiency and impacts. The REACT-EU evaluation also gathered lessons on the use of special funding for the future.

The short period of use of the REACT-EU funding has negatively affected its effectiveness. Those implementing the projects faced challenges in preparing and quickly creating several project packages. It is important to reserve sufficient time for project development so that wider impacts can be achieved.

The REACT-EU funding has been used to launch new project activities between outgoing and incoming programming periods. Another key benefit of the REACT-EU funding and its special and thematic objectives has been to help those involved in the projects in the regions to focus on the new programming period. This is expected to show in the theme-related development work carried out already before the full launch of the actual new structural fund programme.

The evaluation of the REACT-EU funding was carried out in autumn 2023. The evaluation was commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and carried out by MDI. 

REACT-EU additional funding is part of NextGenerationEU recovery package

During the coronavirus pandemic in 2021, additional REACT-EU funding (Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe) was added to Finland’s Structural Fund programme. Its purpose was to help repair the significant damage on the economy and employment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in some regions. The main objectives of the measures financed with the REACT-EU additional funding are both recovery from the crisis and the green and digital transitions. 

The REACT-EU additional funding is part of the NextGenerationEU recovery package. In 2021–2023, EUR 295 million in funding was available to Finland. In addition to other funding under Finland’s structural fund programme ‘Sustainable growth and jobs 2014–2020’, the REACT-EU funding has provided an important contribution during the programming period, especially in 2021 and 2022. Funding has been granted by both ELY Centres and regional councils. 

Milla Ohrankämmen, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, [email protected]

Euroopan unionin rahoittama - NextGenerationEU