The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Italy’s national promotional bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) have signed a guarantee agreement making available €5.8 billion in new loans to Italian small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). This sizeable agreement is backed by the Juncker Plan’s European Fund for Strategic Investments which allows the European Investment Bank Group to invest in more and often higher risk operations. Today’s deal – which was signed under the EU’s COSME (Competitiveness of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises) Programme – will allow the issuance of new loans to enterprises in almost any sector for amounts up to €150,000 and with a maturity above 12 months. Over the next two years, the loans will target more than 65,000 SMEs in Italy. Elżbieta Bieńkowska, European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: “This is excellent news and a step forward to ensure that small and medium-sized businesses have access to the financing they need to grow and innovate. Thanks to the Juncker Plan, already 291,300 SMEs are expected to benefit from improved access to finance in Italy. This latest agreement will increase their development capacity at a large scale.” A press release is available here. As of July 2019, the Juncker Plan has mobilised €424 billion of additional investment, including €66.6 billion in Italy. The Plan is currently supporting 967,000 small and medium businesses across Europe.
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