Since 2010, European Commission has asked European regions to create smart specialisation strategies (S3) that are based on regions’ existing strengths and areas of expertise. The aim is to enhance cooperation of the regional actors and to make the allocation of EU and regional funds more focused and effective. Lapland's Arctic Specialisation Programme was drawn up in 2013 and updated in 2018. Sustainable development and social sustainability are one of the crosscutting elements in Lapland’s smart specialisation. 

Thematic partnerships under Smart Specialisation Platform are established by bringing together regions with matching S3 priorities. Lapland is taking part in six thematic platforms. In 2018, with the lead of Navarra region, six European regions established a partnership in social economy. The aim of the partnership is to encourage cooperation between partner regions and their local stakeholders (i.a. businesses, clusters, civil sector organisations and research institutes) to contribute to the transition towards new social economy business models.

How can Lapland benefit?

The European Commission supports the thematic partnerships (16 different themes under industrial modernisation) with advice and support services. The thematic platform for social economy also gives the local and regional stakeholders in Lapland a chance to network and cooperate with partner regions.

For Lapland, the participation in this thematic platform helps to develop framework for activities.

With the help of experts approved by the commission, partner regions and local stakeholders work together, to develop new business models and joint investment projects. By sharing expertise and best practises, the partner regions are co-creating new interregional business plans and funding mixes.

Thematic platforms can bring the voice of local stakeholders to be heard on EU-level and have their views factored in to EU policies. The platform also improves the regions’ opportunities for direct EU funding such as Horison2020, Eramus+, Cosme and Interreg Europe.