The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Sicily Region today announced the creation of a EUR 148 million JESSICA Holding Fund for financing urban regeneration and energy efficiency in Sicilian cities. The operation presented in Rome by Dario Scannapieco, EIB Vice-President responsible for operations in Italy, Malta and the Western Balkans, and Raffaele Lombardo, Governor of the Sicily Region, is the first of its kind in Italy.

At the same time, the European Investment Fund (EIF, part of the EIB Group) and the Sicily Region signed an agreement to set up a JEREMIE fund for providing financial support for Sicily’s small businesses through a variety of instruments and making available microcredit, worth a total of EUR 60 million.


JESSICA (Joint European Support for Sustainable Development in City Areas) is a joint initiative of the European Commission and the EIB, with the cooperation of the Council of Europe Development Bank, which is designed to foster investment in urban areas through the more effective use of the EU structural funds made available to the regions of the EU Member States. So far some 20 countries have decided to set up (or are considering setting up) JESSICA funds supporting investment in urban areas, and seven initiatives are already up and running in Portugal, the United Kingdom, Spain, Lithuania and Poland.

A range of entities will be eligible for financing under the JESSICA fund for the Sicily Region: municipalities, public and semi-public companies, holders of public works concessions and firms involved in infrastructure construction and urban regeneration investment in a wide variety of sectors, including transport and mobility, architectural and cultural heritage conservation, energy efficiency and the development of renewable energies, service centres, universities and science parks, brownfield development and urban renewal.

The JESSICA financing instruments will have a lasting impact in terms of fostering investment in urban infrastructure as – thanks to the revolving nature of the fund – reflows can be used to carry out further sustainable development investments in Sicilian cities, even beyond the current programming period (2007-2013).

Also in Italy, in the last few days the Marche Region has signed a Memorandum of Understanding providing for the creation of JESSICA financing instruments worth up to EUR 20 million.


JEREMIE (Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises) is a joint initiative of the European Commission and the EIF for improving small firms’ access to credit under the 2007-2013 Structural Funds Framework Programme.

The JEREMIE agreement signed in Rome today provides for the creation of a EUR 60 million fund enabling the Sicily Region to use ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) resources to support Sicily’s small businesses during the period 2009-2013.

The fund will establish partnerships with various types of financial institution to channel financial resources to small firms. JEREMIE will especially be able to offer selected financial intermediaries a wide range of dedicated products – e.g. guarantees, microcredit and securitisation. This is a revolving fund ensuring long-term support for small businesses and will not provide grants to SMEs.
This is the second JEREMIE agreement in Italy following the one signed with the Campania Region a year ago.

Note to editors:


The European Investment Bank supports the strategic and policy objectives of the European Union by granting long-term loans for economically viable investment projects. The EIB’s shareholders are the 27 EU Member States. Italy is one of the four leading shareholders, along with the United Kingdom, Germany and France, each holding a 16.2% stake in the Bank. At end-2008, the EIB’s total financing amounted to EUR 355bn, of which EUR 45bn went to Italy.

EIF (part of the EIB Group)

The European Investment Fund (EIF) was established in 1994 to support small and medium-sized enterprises. Its majority shareholder is the European Investment Bank, with which it forms the “EIB Group”. The EIF provides venture capital to SMEs, particularly start-ups, and for technology-oriented activities. It also provides guarantees to financial institutions to secure their loans to SMEs. The Fund operates in the EU Member States, Croatia, Turkey and the three EFTA countries.