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The CDP office in the Serbian capital will cover the entire territory of the Western Balkans and become the first office outside the European Union. The maximum plan by CDP is currently being implemented, which includes the opening of other new offices outside the EU. Financial agreements have been signed for 50 million euros. The Italian Day in Belgrade ended with a concert of one of the most famous figures of Italian jazz music, Stefano Bollani.

Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) is an Italian state bank that works for the development of Italy, responsibly using the country’s savings to promote economic growth and employment, supporting innovation and competitiveness of businesses, infrastructure, and territory

The opening on February 1st of the headquarters of Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) in Belgrade, capital of Serbia, the first in a non-EU country, became an international event of the highest level. Dario Scannapieco, CEO of CDP, was received by the President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, who was presented the activities of the new office in Belgrade and acquainted with the strategy that CDP intends to implement for supporting the public and private sectors in favor of sustainable and inclusive growth.

As Dario Scannapieco emphasized, “relations between Italy and Serbia are very strong,” and the institutions are “working to further strengthen them.” According to the CEO, CDP’s new headquarters in Belgrade will not only focus on Serbia, but will also become a regional center for all of the Western Balkans: “It is particularly gratifying to see how Italy has been able to work as a system with CDP, Simest, and SACE, which act in a coordinated manner, with strong support from the Italian government,” Scannapieco emphasized.

Pictured: Meeting between CDP CEO Dario Scannapieco and Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić (right)

L'Ad di CDP, Dario Scannapieco

The opening of the CDP headquarters was thus a logical development of the activities recently launched in the Serbian capital by the new office of Simest, the leading company of the CDP Group, which supports the growth of Italian companies abroad. Italian Ambassador to Serbia Luca Gori and State Secretary to the Serbian Foreign Minister and former Ambassador to Rome Goran Aleksic attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony together with Dario Scannapieco.

“With the opening of the Belgrade office,” Scannapieco said during the ceremony, “CDP’s international role is further strengthened, it will continue with the plan of new offices outside the EU and aims also to involve the African continent with new offices in Cairo and Rabat. We want to work more and more effectively as a drive belt for European resources in Italy and in the countries where we are called upon to fulfill our role as a financial institution for development cooperation: the financial agreements with Banca Intesa Beograd and UniCredit Bank Serbia, through which we will support at least 250 SMEs in the region, are proof of the concreteness of our commitment in this direction.”

According to the Belgrade government, it is hard to underestimate the importance of the support offered by CDP to SMEs in Serbia and throughout the entire Western Balkans region. Serbia has one of the highest economic growth rates in Eastern Europe, and as reported by this Balkan country’s statistical office (Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia), Serbia’s gross domestic product increased by 3.8% in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to the same period of the previous year.

Pictured: Ribbon-cutting ceremony

“The opening of the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti office in Belgrade follows the opening of the companies Simest and SACE. This concludes the project to strengthen the Italian system in Serbia, launched by Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani in March 2023 on the occasion of the Business and Science Forum. Belgrade has become the first place outside the EU, where the Italian system can count on such a wide range of institutional players,” said Ambassador Luca Gori.

The day continued with the presentation by CDP and Simest of the Italian system’s new headquarters, with a detailed illustration of the tools provided by the Group to Italian companies, operating in Serbia, and Serbian companies. The event, organized at the Italian Embassy in Belgrade, was attended by Serbian Trade Minister Tomislav Momirović and Simest CEO Regina Corradini D’Arienzo.

And then, wasting no time, the Italian financial giants moved on to specific facts. During the day, CDP CEO Scannapieco, in the presence of Italian Ambassador Gori, signed two financing contracts totaling 50 million euros. The first one, for the amount of 10 million, was signed with Banca Intesa Beograd, winner of the prestigious award of the world financial magazine The Banker as “Bank of the Year in Serbia in 2023,” represented at the signing ceremony by its CEO Darko Popovic. This contract is part of a financing program divided into several tranches, which will affect not only Serbia, but also some other countries, where Intesa Sanpaolo Group is present with its headquarters and offices. The second contract, for 40 million euros, was signed with UniCredit Bank Serbia, represented by CEO Nikola Vuletić.

The funds provided by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti as part of the “Western Balkans Investment Framework” initiative, promoted by the European Union, will be allocated by the two main Italian banks operating in the country (through direct loans), in support of the growth of small and medium Serbian businesses with particularly favorable interest rates. As noted during the signing ceremony of the two contracts, “CDP resources will be able to provide an incentive equal to at least double the amount of the loan, totaling no less than 100 million euros.” The initiative will allow us to support hundreds of local businesses, create new jobs, and contribute to the five Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), outlined by the United Nations.

Stefano Bollani

The Italian Day in Belgrade, made possible thanks to the CDP initiative, ended with a concert of one of the most famous figures of Italian jazz music, Stefano Bollani. The event, which took place at the headquarters of the Ilija Kolarac Foundation, was organized in cooperation with the Italian Cultural Institute and the Italian Embassy in Belgrade. The Serbian audience was able to appreciate the performance of the famous pianist, who performed songs from his latest album entitled “Blooming.” The show was also attended by numerous members of the diplomatic community, as well as representatives of the world of Serbian culture, economy, and politics, including Serbian Minister of Education Slavica Djukic Dejanovic. “I am honored to welcome Maestro Stefano Bollani to Belgrade. As the full house of this evening showed, the Serbian public demonstrates exceptional appreciation for the most important representatives of Italian music,” Ambassador Gori concluded.

Giornalisti e Redattori di Pluralia

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