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Abstract

Financial instruments can be co-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) to support the investment priorities outlined in the ESF Operational Programmes (OP) of the Member States.

Participants at the seminar "Financial instruments under the ESF and EFSI, including microfinance – European and Italian perspectives", held on 1 December 2016 in Rome, could:

  • Further their understanding of how financial instruments can help in their efforts to deliver ESF 2014-2020 objectives, with particular emphasis on microfinance instruments;
  • Familiarise themselves with the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and exchange views on the potential use of EFSI for ESF-type actions;
  • Explore the possibility of combining European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) elements with EFSI;
  • Enhance their awareness and knowledge about microfinance financial instruments; and
  • Exchange and discuss examples, advantages, features and suitability of financial instruments in delivering ESF 2014-2020 objectives.

The event consisted of presentations by experts from the Italian Ministry of Labour, the Italian Agency for Territorial Cohesion as well as the European Commission (DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion), the European Investment Bank Group (EIB Group), and microfinance providers represented through RITMI and EMN as Microfinance Networks.

The agenda is available for download

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Financial instruments under the ESF and EFSI, including microfinance – European and Italian perspectives, Rome, 1 December 2016

Picture: Jader Cané, European Commission, Bruno Robino, European Investment Bank and Martina Rosato, Italian Ministry of Labour

The European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) can be combined in the implementation of financial instruments, including microfinance, and this was the focus of a fi-compass seminar held on 1 December in Rome.

Experts from the Italian Ministry of Labour and the NUVAP (Dipartimento Politiche di Coesione, Presidenza del Consiglio), as well as the European Commission (DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion), the European Investment Bank Group (EIB Group), and microfinance providers represented through the Rete Italiana Microfinanza (RITMI) and the European Microfinance Network (EMN) as microfinance networks shared their experience through presentations and discussion sessions. The use of microfinance instruments was extensively explored during the event.

This fi-compass seminar included over 80 delegates representing the majority of Italian ESF managing authorities, regional and national authorities, as well as financial intermediaries, many of which specialised in microfinance.

Jader Cané from the European Commission Directorate-General Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, welcomed participants to this seminar. Bruno Robino, Head of fi-compass, moderated the event, encouraging dialogue and exchanges of experience between participants and speakers.

Picture: Giampietro Pizzo, Rete Italiana Microfinanza (RITMI), Bruno Robino, European Investment Bank, Jorge Ramirez Puerto, European Microfinance Network (EMN) and Salvatore Vescina, Agenzia per la Coesione Territoriale

In the morning session, Martina Rosato from the Italian Ministry of Labour illustrated the state of play and the perspectives in the near future for financial instruments supported by ESF in Italy. She highlighted the importance of the ex-ante assessment, as a market and feasibility study to enhance evidence based decision making about launching ESF financial instruments. She also described existing projects including, some that combined ESF and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) financial contributions.

Subsequently, speakers from the EIB Group illustrated common success factors for financial instruments as well as options offered by the EIB Group for ESF managing authorities. They also explained how investments are selected for support from the EFSI, and the way such financing can be combined with the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) and in particular the ESF. This was of great interest and it prompted engaging questions from the audience.

The session was concluded by Luca Galassi from the Sardinia region, who explained the successful implementation of financial instruments under the ESF in his region.

Picture: Audience at the seminar

In the afternoon, an expert panel of Giampietro Pizzo, President of RITMI, the microfinance networks, Jorge Ramirez Puerto, General Manager of EMN and Corrado Ferretti, President of PerMicro, presented an useful overview of the private and public microfinance initiatives in Italy, as well as across Europe.

Following this, Salvatore Vescina from the governmental organisation Agenzia per la Coesione Territoriale (the Italian Agency for Territorial Cohesion) presented a set of optional performance and impact indicators to measure the results of microfinance instruments.

Marianna D’Angelo from the Italian Ministry of Labour, managing authority of the ESF National Operational Programmes 'Iniziativa Occupazione Giovani e Sistemi di Politiche Attive per l’Occupazione' (Young People’s Work Initiative and Active Procedures for Work) concluded this successful seminar with an invitation to the audience to continue working proactively to boost the success of ESF programmes.

Financial instruments under the ESF and EFSI, including microfinance – European and Italian perspectives, Rome, 1 December 2016

Title Speakers
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Financial instruments under ESF in Italy – State of play

Martina Rosato, Ministero del Lavoro e delle Politiche Sociali – DG Politiche Attive, Servizi per il Lavoro e la Formazione - Divisione II

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Success factors of financial instruments

Alessandro Apa, Fund and Structuring Officer, European Investment Bank

and Gianluca Palermo, Regional Business Manager, European Investment Fund

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Combining ESIF and EFSI programmes, including case studies

Christos Pouris, Financial Instruments Advisor, European Investment Bank

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Introducing EFSI, with a view to its social dimension

Matthieu Bertrand, Mandate Manager, European Investment Bank

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From microfinance to inclusive finance

Christos Pouris, Financial Instruments Advisor, European Investment Bank

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Regional case study on the implementation of microfinance instruments

Luca Galassi, Director for the provision of Service Support to the Managing Authority for the ESF OP, Sardinia

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Intervention from the Ente Nazionale per il microcredito

Mario Baccini, President, Ente Nazionale per il microcredito

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ESF and microfinance: paving the way for stronger financial inclusion programmes at national and regional level

Giampietro Pizzo, President, RITMI (Italian Microfinance Network)

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ESF and microfinance in Europe: best practices and perspectives

Jorge Ramirez Puerto, General Manager, EMN (European Microfinance Network)

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ESF and microfinance: a set of performance and impact indicators

Salvatore Vescina, Senior Advisor (Area Progetti e Strumenti), Agenzia per la Coesione Territoriale

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Private-Public-Partnership Microfinance in Piemonte Region: experiences and recommendations from the field

Corrado Ferretti, President, PerMicro