Italy’s strategic choices in Serbia and the Western Balkans will be implemented with the help of new tools and new ways of cooperation that demonstrate the change of pace Italy intends to pursue in its interlocution and presence in all countries in the area, starting with Belgrade.
At the presentation of CDP and Simest to Italian companies in Serbia, Italian Ambassador, H.E. Luca Gori, pointed out that the opening of Cassa Depositi e Prestiti’s office in Belgrade is a game changer initiative, a qualitative leap in Italy’s presence in the country in order to support Serbia in the challenges ahead not only in terms of quantitative economic development but also in the aspect of energy transition, environmental and social sustainability of economic growth, widespread digitalization and a development model capable of creating endogenous development poles and not only dependent on foreign investments.
For his part, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti CEO, Dario Scannapieco, recalled that it is difficult to summarize all the Group’s activities such as the one he leads that manages assets worth more than 400 billion euros. “If anything, it is important to note that it is the institution that in its 175 years of existence has accompanied and directed the economic and social development of Italy, channelling the postal savings of Italians to enable the country to grow by responding to the various challenges of its history, from the creation of the unitary state with the consequent real estate and industrial development to investments in infrastructure in the years of reconstruction and economic boom to the current mission focused on climate change, inclusive and sustainable growth, innovation and digitalization, and support for value chains to manage the country’s revival and support the development of partner countries.
“CDP operates abroad as a long-term partner. At our meeting with President Vucic, which was more than just cordial, we started talking about concrete interventions to be activated in the short term. Within our strategic framework, we want to take a pragmatic approach, capable of meeting the real needs of the countries in which we operate. Within the ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) canons, we develop with local counterparts and international banking institutions multilateral actions to support the private sector, as well as publicly controlled enterprises. We will cooperate with the Western Balkans Investment Framework to implement strategic projects for economic and social development and geopolitical integration of all countries in the region. Through our Venture Capital and Technology Transfer funds we intend to support the digital and ecological transformation of enterprises as well as the start-up ecosystem to integrate the research sphere with the needs of the global market.”
Mr. Scannapieco also pointed out that in less than a year since the Business Forum between Italy and Serbia took place in March 2023, unprecedented commitments have been made on the Italian side, such as those to open in Belgrade the first non-EU offices of Simest, Sace and CDP, as a demonstration of dynamism and the will to develop strategic partnership ties between the two countries in the most innovative sectors.
The inauguration of the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti office in Belgrade, located on the eighth floor of the Banca Intesa Beograd building, took place yesterday morning.
Speakers at the inauguration included CDP’s CEO, Dario Scannapieco, Italian Ambassador to Serbia, H.E. Luca Gori, Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in Serbia, Matteo Colangeli, Director of the Intesa San Paolo Group’s foreign bank subsidiaries, Marco Elio Rottigni, and Simest Chairman, Pasquale Salzano.
The objective of CDP’s Belgrade office, headed by Lucia Bonelli, will be based on two axes: boosting economic relations between Italy and Serbia and the search for and promotion of greater opportunities for cooperation and synergies in the Balkan area for Italian, Serbian and Western Balkan SMEs more generally.
Furthermore, Banca Intesa Beograd, Unicredit Srbija and CDP have entered into long-term financing agreements totaling 50 million euros through the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) to support the growth of Serbian SMEs active in high ESG impact areas such as:
- green sectors
- social entrepreneurship
- sustainable agriculture
- circular economy
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