Finland has 18 Regional Councils formed by municipalities. These councils have two main functions laid down by law: Regional Development and Regional Land Use Planning. In their planning, the regional councils take account the national targets set by the Government and Ministries.
All regional councils produce:
- a Regional Strategic Plan (long term)
- a Regional Programme (a four year period)
- a Regional Land Use Plan (long term)
- a Regional Implementation Plan (annual)
The plans and programmes of regional councils have mandatory legal consequences. In their own actions, local and national government authorities need to take account of the plans and programmes given by the councils.
Regional Development is intersectoral in nature. The better the cooperation between different administrative sectors is, the more effective are the measures in use.
International Cooperation is a way to strengthen the Regional Strategic Plan and its implementation. In Europe, the Regional Council works for a more effective use of EU programmes to achieve cohesion and economic growth.
For historical and geographical reasons, Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional
Council has a special interest in promoting cooperation in the Baltic
Sea Region, promoting the Northern Dimension, and cooperating with some Russian
regions, e.g. St Petersburg and Moscow.