A wide range of opportunities is available for new investments and for expanding and strengthening existing ones. There are three different sources of incentives: European, national and regional. In some cases, incentives are offered without distinction to both Italian and foreign entities based in Italy.
The incentives provided by the European Union and Italian central and local government aim to enhance regional development and competitiveness by supporting local business activities, reinforcing existing ones or helping start-up initiatives by promoting and integrating research, innovation and training programmes.
The European Incentives Plan for 2007-2013 is aimed at increasing growth and employment within the EU Member States and operates with a specific focus on regions. The plan’s priorities include areas such as knowledge and innovation, transport, environmental protection, human resources, competitiveness and modernisation of the economy.
In order to increase effectiveness, the Italian government has combined its national incentive plans with the European one. From 2007 to 2013, approximately EUR 125 billion will be available to support investments in Italy, with a strong concentration in the southern regions.
Implementation is through the National Strategic Reference Framework and the National Operational Programmes and Regional Operational Programmes, and the following EU Structural Funds are involved:
The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) – Its aim is to finance infrastructures and manufacturing plants to create and safeguard sustainable jobs. The ERDF is especially addressed to SMEs and provides various financing facilities, including venture capital, debt and guarantee funds, etc.
The areas of investment include development of industrial sites, research and technology, information technology, protection of the environment, energy, education, equal opportunities, and transnational, cross-border and interregional co-operation.
The European Social Fund (ESF) – The ESF aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion by improving employment and job opportunities, establishing the following priorities.
- Increasing flexibility of workers, enterprises and entrepreneurs
- Enhancing access to the labour market
- Promoting the social inclusion of disadvantaged people
- Enhancing networking between higher education, research and busines
- Promoting and mainstreaming innovative social activities at both international and interregional level
- Strengthening the effectiveness of the public administration and services (only in the south of Italy).