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    On the occasion of its 50th Anniversary, the European Investment Bank (EIB), in collaboration with the Italian Banking Association and the Confederation of Italian Industry, organised a Seminar on Thursday 11 December 2008 in ABI's Conference Room in Milan.

    Ranked by both the World Bank and the IMF as the world's sixth-largest economy, Italy provides a good but not exceptional level of Economic Competitiveness for its citizens, when judged by the high standards of Western Europe.  Italy must also resolve one of its main weaknesses in the field of research and development, namely the low level of public and private investment.

    The EIB, the European Union's financing institution, has lent some EUR 66 billion for RDI, education and information and communication technology projects since EU leaders agreed in 2000 to target R&D spending of 3% of gross domestic product by 2010.

    In line with the European Union's objectives, the EIB presented its new financial products for supporting Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) projects.

    The Seminar indeed focused on financing RDI with EU grants under Framework Programme 7 (FP7) and the Risk Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF), an innovative debt based finance instrument set up by the European Commission (EC) and the EIB.  The Seminar will provide an overview of the opportunities offered by the RSFF, with regard to both financial needs of larger corporates for projects and programmes of significant volume and possible co-operation models with banking institutions for RDI intensive SMEs and mid-cap companies.


    ABI, the Italian Banking Association (, is a voluntary non-profit organization. Its purpose is to represent, defend and promote the interests of its member banks and financial intermediaries. It works, in this framework, for the development of the awareness in society and within the banking and financial system of the social and behavioral values that follow from entrepreneurial principles and from the formation of open and competitive markets. Specifically, ABI undertakes initiatives for the orderly, stable and efficient growth of the banking and financial system, in a competitive outlook consistent with Italian and European Union law.

    Confindustria, the Confederation of Italian Industry (, is the lead organization representing the manufacturing, construction, energy, transportation, ITC, tourism and services industries in Italy.  In promoting the interests of Italian industry over 90 years, Confindustria has assumed a positive and leading role, becoming a reliable organization with a primary role in Italy's economic, social and civil development.  Transparency, liberalization, privatization, tax reform, the development of the Mezzogiorno, new policy directions in research and innovation, infrastructure, environment and social security are some of the Confindustria initiatives promoted at various levels with the main political and administrative institutions aimed at encouraging improved competitiveness for Italian enterprises.