Publication - Progress report

Europe 2020: Scottish national reform programme 2017

Published: 27 Apr 2017
External Affairs Directorate
Part of:
Economy, International

A summary of the actions the Scottish Government has taken with partners in 2016 and 2017 in pursuit of the Europe 2020 Strategy.

56 page PDF

1.5 MB

56 page PDF

1.5 MB

Europe 2020: Scottish national reform programme 2017
Chapter 1: Why EU Funding Matters to Scotland

56 page PDF

1.5 MB

Chapter 1: Why EU Funding Matters to Scotland

The EU is the world's largest single market, comprising 31 countries and representing in excess of 500 million consumers, within which impediments to the free movement of goods, services, capital and persons have been, or are being, progressively eliminated.

Adhering to these "four freedoms" therefore defines the core obligation of membership of the European Single Market, and it is only through membership that comprehensive access can be secured.

Funding from the EU supports the implementation of Scottish Government policy in a number of important areas. European Structural Funds, for example, help to grow Scotland's economy in support of the five Europe 2020 targets.

European Structural Funds in Scotland

  • Scotland has benefited from around £4 billion of European Structural Funds since 1975.
  • The benefits are not only monetary, the funds promote partnership working across sectors and member states for the benefit of those in our communities who need it most.
  • The European Regional Development Fund invested €497.8 million (£387 million) and the European Social Fund, €322 million (£250 million) between 2007-2013. This funding supported 96,000 people into work and helped create almost 50,000 jobs.
  • Projects supported by EU funding improve transport and internet links to remote regions, boost SMEs growth, improve education and skills, tackle climate change, and reduce poverty and social exclusion.
  • Target groups who will benefit from current EU Structural Funds include those in our communities facing multiple barriers due to poverty and lack of equal opportunity.

Current programmes for 2014-20 are worth over €944 million (£828 million) to Scotland. Over £383 million of funding is now approved under the 2014-20 ESF/ ERDF programmes, providing welcome investment during continued austerity and uncertainty caused by Brexit.

Areas of focus which support the Scottish Government's Purpose and all five Europe 2020 targets include:

European Regional Development Fund

European Social Fund

Helping SMEs to innovate and commercialise, supporting the development of new products, processes and services and strengthening links with academic centres

Smart Cities to increase the number of efficient, green services in Scottish towns and cities

Digital connectivity in remote communities (Highlands & Islands only)

SME investment support (financial instruments)

SME support to grow, including leadership development, access to new markets and use of digital technology

Supporting low carbon projects to achieve maturity and scale for external investment

Low carbon transport and travel, including integrated ticketing and walking and cycling connections

Industrial transition to lower resource intensity, increasing environmental innovation and collaboration between businesses

Green infrastructure in urban, deprived areas

Employability (national and local approaches), funding for activity to help unemployed and inactive people into work

Youth Employment Initiative ( YEI) funding to increase employment levels for young people in south west Scotland.

Combating poverty, including through financial inclusion and testing whole-community development

Community empowerment and social innovation

Social enterprise support

Higher-level skills matched to regional industrial needs

The following chapters include examples of how EU funds are deployed in Scotland to support smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Making growth more inclusive is important for improving both Scotland's economic competitiveness, reducing wider inequalities, and improving opportunities for all.

  • EU is main destination for Scottish international exports, receiving 43% of Scotland's International exports, worth around £12.3 billion in 2015
  • EU membership opens Scotland to the European Single Market of more than 500 million people
  • EU membership provides Scottish organisations with access to €76.4 billion (around £58 billion) through horizon 2020 of research and innovation funding
  • EU funds contribute to efforts in Scotland to address inequalities
  • EU membership supports over 300,000 jobs directly & indirectly
  • In past decade, 41% of UK public funding for cancer research was provided by EU
  • The common framework for EU law prevents the exploitation and discrimination of workers and protects rights
  • The European Structural and Investment Fund 2014-2020 programme is investing around €944 million (£828 m) in Scotland
  • The European Arrest Warrant has allowed UK to extradite more than 5,000 people to elsewhere in Europe in the last 5 years, and bring 675 individuals back to face justice
  • The European Regional Development Fund invested €497.8 m (£387 million) and the European Social Fund €322 million (£250 million) between 2007-2013
  • EU membership gives UK citizens access to the European Health Insurance Card, so people can access healthcare when on holiday in EU
  • EU legislation enables states to work together to prevent the spread of illness and disease

Updated April 2017


Email: Elaine Bell

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road