These agreements strengthen the cooperation between the European Union´s bank and Banco Popolare, which is especially important for passing on new sources of finance to Italy´s productive sector on favourable terms as the country shows the first signs of emerging from a protracted recession.
Youth employment (EUR 50 million)
Specifically, a EUR 50 million loan concerns projects put forward by SMEs, midcaps and innovative start-ups to create new jobs for young people in the 15-29 age bracket. These financing operations form part of the Jobs for Youth programme launched by the EIB after the Brussels European Council of June 2013. To date, the EIB has allocated a total of EUR 440 million to Italy under Jobs for Youth. The potential beneficiaries are SMEs (up to 250 staff), midcaps (up to 3 000 staff) and start-ups that meet at least one of the following requirements:
- they have taken on at least one person (three for midcaps) aged between 15 and 29 in the six months prior to the loan application or they will do so in the following six months;
- they offer vocational training programmes for young people or internships/training programmes for young people;
- they have signed a cooperation agreement with a technical institute or school or university to employ young people (e.g. for summer internships);
- they have a shareholder structure in which the majority of the capital (over 50%) is held by people under the age of 29.
SMEs (EUR 200 million) and midcaps (EUR 100 million)
The EIB has earmarked EUR 200 million for Italian SMEs on particularly favourable terms. The loans are intended to fund either new or existing projects providing these have not yet been completed. Loans to businesses operating in all productive sectors (agriculture, crafts, industry, retail, tourism and services) can be allocated for the purchase, construction, extension and refurbishment of buildings; the purchase of plant, equipment, vehicles or machinery; expenses, additional charges and intangible assets connected to the projects, including research, development and innovation costs; the permanent need for working capital for operational purposes. Banco Popolare will also provide funding to the beneficiary SMEs, so increasing the total amount made available in support of the Italian economy.