Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Skip to main content
European Commission logo
EACEA National Policies Platform


1. Youth Policy Governance

1.7 Funding youth policy

Last update: 16 April 2024
On this page
  1. How youth policy is funded
  2. What is funded
  3. Financial accountability
  4. Use of EU funds

How youth policy is funded

From the central administration, most of the funding for youth issues is awarded by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The Ministry of Education and Culture funds youth issues from the proceeds of gaming activities and budget funding (about the forthcoming changes related to the role of gambling revenues in youth work funding, see Youth Wiki/Finland 1.9 Current debates and reforms).

The majority of the funding is shared through central government transfers and grants. According to the definition provided by the Act on Discretionary Government Transfers, transfers mean public funding granted in the form of aid for an activity or project. Some of the funding is allocated to youth activities in municipalities, as the central government transfers are used at the municipalities’ discretion. Targeted central government transfers are also granted to municipalities. Central government transfers for youth work are granted by the Ministry of Education and Culture or the Regional State Administrative Agencies (see Glossary). Other administrative branches, especially in the areas of education, social welfare, and employment, include appropriations for policy initiatives influencing young people.

What is funded

The Ministry of Education and Culture annually allocates government funding to the national youth organisations, municipal youth work, statutory bodies, and other actors doing youth work. The Ministry has additional appropriations for measures that address topical issues, such as young people's social empowerment, international projects, and new forms of youth work and youth culture. 

For 2024, the estimated use of the state budget of approximately 74 million, which is 4 million less than in previous year, covers the following (€):

  • Youth workshops, outreach youth work and youth work in schools and educational institutions 30 000 000
  • Non-governmental youth organisations working in national level 18 000 000
  • Development, innovation and research, includes youth work centres of expertise and international cooperation 5 600 000
  • Government transfers for local and regional youth work 5 530 000. Source: State’s Budget by the Ministry of Finance (in Finnish). See also: Central government funding for youth work.

Based on the comments received from the Ministry of Education and Culture, a comparison with the previous year’s budget is challenging because, since January 2024 the income from gambling revenue, which is allocated to science, art, sport, health and social and youth work, has been taken into the state budget (see more information in Youth Wiki/Finland 1.9 Current debates and reforms). However, the additional funding which was allotted towards the further development and expansion of youth workshops and outreach youth work is no longer being awarded. Based on the actual government programme, there are savings coming, and these will be met with the resources of the youth work centres of expertise starting in the autumn 2024.

Financial accountability

Under the Youth Act, registered associations and foundations pursuing the objectives and promoting the underlying principles of the Act may be approved as national youth work organisations eligible for state aid. Eligibility for state aid can be revoked if the organisation ceases to meet the statutory criteria for state aid. Additionally, the Act includes provisions on state grants to national youth work centres of expertise. The Act also proposes provisions on youth workshops.

For instance, according to the Youth Act the subsidies to the national youth work organisations shall be allocated on the basis of eligibility and performance. The act states: 'When the eligibility of a youth work organisation for state aid is assessed, due consideration shall be given to the nationwide coverage, quality, scope and social impact of its activities as well as the ways in which the organisation promotes non-discrimination, equality and social inclusion among young people.' 

As described in the Government Decree on Youth Work and Policy: 'When addressing state aid issues, the Assessment and State Aid Commission shall give its informed view on the fulfilment of the criteria set out in the Youth Act. The members of the Commission are appointed by the Government following consultations with parties engaged in youth activities. The Commission members shall be familiar with the operations of national youth work organisations and possess expertise in youth work, youth policy and youth activities.'

The Act on Discretionary Government Transfers lays out the provisions on discretionary government transfers that may be granted in the form of general or specific transfers. It also regulates the provision on auditing and duties of the recipients of discretionary government transfer. Further legislation, as well as guidelines of the Ministry of Education and Culture, also creates a framework for subsidies. The recipients of discretionary government transfers must obey the legislation on public procurement.

The Ministry of Education and Culture and the Regional Administrative Agencies control the spending of funds according to 'performance' criteria. The recipient of the funding must give a detailed account of the use of the funds to the financing authority. For instance, the report of the general transfers must include a description of the activities, income statement and the balance sheet, the audit report, and other requested documents. 

Use of EU funds

Structural funds programme for 2021–2027

Finland's structural funds programme for 2021–2027 include objectives that support measures affecting young people. The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) supports various projects that promote employment, new competence to working life, equitable inclusion, safety nets for the future of young people, and resources for life. The total amount of ESF+ funding for these five priorities for the period 2021–2027 is EUR 602 million. When national public funding also is included, a total of about EUR 1 billion will be available for these priorities. However, only a part of this funding is used for projects supporting youth-related activities.

The role of the ESF+ funds for the implementation of the youth policy is currently significant. One concrete example of the use of the ESF+ funding is the network of the one-stop guidance centres for youth that began operation in 2014. In 2023, the network includes approximately 70 One-Stop Guidance Centres in different parts of Finland (for more information about the centres see Youth Wiki/Finland 3.4 Career guidance and counselling).