The European Investment Bank (EIB) is supporting Puglia's EUR 7.1 billion Regional Operational Programme (ROP) 2014-2020 with a EUR 450 million loan, of which an initial tranche of EUR 150 million was signed today in Rome. The ROP, the framework instrument of regional investment co-financed by the European Union, provides for the implementation of projects throughout the Puglia Region in a variety of sectors (environment, waste, transport, mobility, employment, infrastructure, technical assistance, etc.).

Specifically, 50% (EUR 3.56 billion) of the Puglia Region's ROP will be financed by EU funds (ERDF – European Regional Development Fund; and ESF – European Social Fund), 35% by the Italian Government (EUR 2.5 billion) and 15% by the Region itself (just over EUR 1 billion). The EIB will provide EUR 450 million towards this last amount, so covering more than 40% of the Region's requirements and helping to activate the entire investment programme (the EU will only contribute its share when the Region releases its funds).

The funding provided by the EU bank will focus on projects in various priority areas of activity: R&D, information technology, SME support, sustainable energy, climate change, environment and nature conservation, transport infrastructure, improving training and access to employment, social inclusion, education, institutional capacity building and sustainable urban development.

During the preliminary stage special emphasis will be placed on environmental issues and tendering procedures, which will subsequently be monitored, in line with the EIB's overall policies.