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(AGI) Beijing, June 29 - Italy holds a 2.62 percent stake inthe China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Theframework agreement regulating the bank's governance and theshareholding of each member state was signed in Beijing onMonday. Italy's 2.62 percent stake makes it the fourth-largestEuropean country within the new financial institution,following Germany with 4.5 percent, France with 3.4 percent andthe United Kingdom with 3.1 percent. Overall Italy rankstwelfth among the 57 AIIB member countries, although 75 percentof the shares of the new regional financial institution areheld by Asian countries, with China and India holding 30.3 and8.52 percent respectively. At the bottom of the list are Maltaand the Maldives, with a shareholding of 0.01 percent each. Thebank's Chinese executives welcomed Monday's signature as ahistory-making event. After the ceremony held at the Great Hallof the People on Tiananmen Square, Chinese President Xi Jinpingmet with representatives of the member countries, telling themthat the agreement underscores "solidarity, cooperation,openness, inclusiveness and the drive towards a commondevelopment". In a written note, Chinese Prime Minister LiKeqiang, who is currently in Brussels to attend theChina-European Union summit, said the new financial institutioncould be a "good recipe against global economic decline" andthat the AIIB is sure to boost financial flows forinfrastructures and strengthen international cooperation. Theexpectations for Italy's membership in the China-led investmentbank are positive, said Michele Geraci, director of the ChinaEconomic Research Program at the Nottingham University BusinessSchool and of Global Policy Institute China. "Italy can make aconsiderable contribution to the AIIB. Not only is it afounding member but Italian industries with specific skills canparticipate in the single projects whose profits are to bedivided among the 57 members. The AIIB is a bank capable ofgenerating profit; it is not an NGO," Mr Geraci explained tothe AgiChina news agency. In addition, the new bank couldsupport the development of the continent's infrastructures.(AGI).