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The European Investment Bank welcomed a boost from member states that will support the European Union’s action to support resilience and tackle the migration challenge in its neighbourhood through the Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI) –an investment plan aimed at supporting job creation in the private sector and key

social infrastructure such as water, health and education.

Today Luxembourg signed a new agreement to support the ERI, thus increasing its initial contribution of 400,000 euros by another 2 million euros. The UK has also confirmed its support through a commitment of up to 25 million GBP (about 28 million euros) that was pledged two years ago in the context of the  “London Conference on Supporting Syria and the Region”, hosted by the UK and co-chaired with the United Nations and with the governments of Germany, Kuwait, and Norway.

Last year’s contributions from Lithuania and Croatia of 450,000 euros and 500,000 euros respectively, alongside those provided by Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, will support the EU Bank’s special ERI Fund aimed at stepping up investment in the Southern Neighbourhood and the Western Balkans. As announced last year, Poland and Italy are contributing 50 and 45 million euros respectively. with contributions from Slovakia of 2 million euros and Slovenia 0.5 million euros.

The investments supported with the contributions from the Member States will allow for new job opportunities – particularly for women and young people. In so doing, the Economic Resilience Initiative, complementary to the EU’s recently agreed External Investment Plan, will help to address the root causes of migration.

The Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI) was requested by the 28 EU member states in 2016 as a part of the EU response to the challenges posed by forced displacement and migration and as a follow up to the London Syria Conference in 2016. Focused on the Western Balkans and Europe’s Southern Neighbourhood, which covers North Africa and the Middle East, the ERI initiative substantially increases EIB financing in these regions: an extra 6 billion euros in addition to the 7.5 billion euros already planned by 2020.The bank estimates that ERI will take the total EIB mobilisation of investment in the regions to some 35 billion euros by 2020.

Investments under ERI are well on track. Up to now, 21 projects and 1.5 billion euros of financing have been approved under the new initiative. These are already starting to make an impact on the ground: Lending via partner banks alone is set to benefit over 1,300 smaller and medium sized businesses, helping to sustain more than 54,000 jobs. ERI projects will bring safer water and improved sanitation for over 1.5 million people. 420,000 passengers are set to benefit from better transport every day. Funding will create some 6,600 places for students in tertiary educational facilities