>@Marco Santarelli/EIB

At a ceremony today in Rome, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Confindustria signed a framework cooperation agreement to support the finance plans of Italian businesses of all sizes, via the distribution of instruments provided by the EIB, with a particular emphasis on the Juncker Plan and InnovFin. The three-year agreement, which aims to promote access to EIB financing from a wider range of medium-sized enterprises than in the past, was signed by Confindustria President Vincenzo Boccia and EIB Vice-President Dario Scannapieco. 

In particular, the agreement states that:

  • Confindustria will raise awareness among its members of the various types of loans and guarantees offered by the EIB Group, together with a series of specific initiatives across Italy. There will be a particular focus on midcaps and SMEs for their investment programmes promoting sustainable growth and jobs, research and development, tackling climate change, environment and culture, strategic infrastructure and projects in the so-called convergence regions;
  • concrete steps will be taken in Italy to implement the measures covered by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), which include the distribution of almost EUR 60bn in loans across Europe by the end of 2018, mobilising EUR 315bn in investment for businesses;
  • Confindustria will provide information to its membership network regarding the programmes managed by the EIB and, using criteria periodically provided by the EIB, will draw up national or regional maps of the most structurally important companies that could be subject to direct operations under EFSI or InnovFin;
  • the EIB undertakes to appraise the businesses and projects highlighted by Confindustria, helping it with the distribution of EIB Group financial instruments across the country. The EIB will also help companies prepare their investment projects via the European Investment Advisory Hub.

The EIB Group has allocated loans totalling an additional EUR 200bn from the beginning of the operation and an annual investment flow of EUR 11bn since 2013. Thanks to its triple-A credit rating on the international markets, the EIB (a non-profit organisation) can grant long-term financing with favourable terms. InnovFin and the Investment Plan for Europe (the so-called Juncker Plan) – instruments lowering the size thresholds of direct loans and increasing the EIB's risk tolerance – have recently been added to its traditional activities.

InnovFin is a financing and advisory programme supporting research and development projects and innovative companies that will enable loans totalling EUR 24bn to be granted across Europe by 2020. There are four types of loan, from large companies (EUR 25-300m) to SMEs (from EUR 25 000 to EUR 7.5m).