Baku, December 19, AZERTAC
Italy has joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to stimulate growth in Asia, to open new opportunities for Italian companies and discussion in crisis areas, according to Agi news agency. Deputy Foreign Minister, Benedetto Della Vedova, told AGI that Italy was the second European country to take this step. The documents were signed in March and the Council of Ministers approved the decision early this month and parliament will ratify the move. The minister explained why Italy chose to become part of this financial project that many observers see as closely related to China's New Silk Road project. The bank has 100 billion dollars of capital and a business plan to invest 8,000 billion dollars over two decades, due to start in January. Italy is bringing a budget of 514 million dollars. He said this was "a wise and far-sighted choice". He went on: "It would have been imprudent not to be there, and for three reasons. First of all due to our relations with China and the entire region: the choice has made Italy immediately part of an instrument of global governance in a sector such as infrastructure. We believe that it should be a tool that works alongside the Asian Development Bank: there is a huge investment potential in the whole region. Therefore, it is useful to have a tool like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the two institutions should work together creating synergy and increasing efficiency. This kind of involvement is important in our view." The minister also commented from a practical viewpoint: "In contrast to the U.S. and Canada, Europe can reach China over land and one of the main projects is the connection between Asia and Europe. It would be imprudent not to be a part of a body that will select and fund projects of connectivity between Europe and China. It was therefore a very wise and politically far-sighted decision. However, it would have been even better to have had a direct representative of the EU. Last but not least: Italy counts a large number of companies that are active in the infrastructure sector. All these firms are working at the highest level of technology. So participating in the capital and in the governance of the bank, regardless of the manner of selection of projects and construction companies, puts Italian companies on the same level as others." Italy's contribution represents 2.6 percent of the capital of the Bank of Italy. It puts Italy as 12th among the bank's 57 members that created the institute.