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EU commissioner Oettinger visits Silicon Saxony

Günther Oettinger discusses current technological trends from Silicon Saxony.
Günther Oettinger discusses current technological trends from Silicon Saxony.
Günther Oettinger meets the audience questions.
Günther Oettinger meets the audience questions.

  • Following an invitation by the Dresden member of the Bundestag, Andreas Lämmel and Arnold Vaatz, EU commissioner for Digital Economy & Society Günther Oettinger visits Dresden.
  • Günther Oettinger discusses current technological trends from Silicon Saxony.
  • Silicon Saxony is an outstanding example for a highly integrated, competitive technological site in Europe.
  • As Heinz Martin Esser says:  "Supported by the Saxon state government and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, we have set the course and are now hoping for an intense cooperation with Brussels."

Dresden, 12. November 2015. Today, Günther Oettinger visits Silicon Saxony. In the Saxon capital, the EU commissioner for Digital Economy & Society will meet representatives from politics, economy and science, among them reps from the high tech trade association Silicon Saxony e. V., the Saxon state government as well as reps from the Dresden big players in the semiconductor industry Infineon Technologies and Globalfoundries. In the course of these talks hosted by Infineon, Oettinger will get an impression about the potentials of the micro and nanoelectroics as well as software business site and will gather information about current technological trends from Saxony. As EU commissioner Oettinger emphasized, excellently qualified staff is required for the digital transformation. Germany and Europe would need many more graduates in computer sciences to cover the industry's demand.

Comprehend microelectronics as a European opportunity
Helmut Warnecke, Vice President & Managing Director at Infineon Technologies Dresden highlighted that "semiconductors are the decisive link between digital and real world. Hence, they are innovators for the future topics in digitalization such as Industry 4.0 and automated driving." In Silicon Saxony, Europe's leading technological site, experts are implementing these market and technological trends in a growingly globalized surrounding. More than ever, this is about competence in soft and hardware. In a smart interplay of both these competences, digital industrial value creation chains are advancing, along which a number of new business models will form. These will substantially contribute to our future economic growth and will thus secure our social prosperity.

According to Heinz Martin Esser, chair of the high tech trade association Silicon Saxony e. V.: "For microelectronics too, digitalization means an enormous opportunity. What is essential is:  Microchips do not represent an interchangeable contribution to the value creation chain, which European industrial partners might just purchase from non-European suppliers. On the contrary, in the future too our European microelectronics sites are going to be a critical feature of industrial digitalization strategies and processes. Therefor, we just have to manage being fast enough, to set the proper standards and to go on to jointly develop solutions with the users. For it is a factual situation: the world is not waiting for Germany and Europe, which proves particularly true for our competitors from the USA and Asia." This is the reason why the partners seek a European alliance and strive for a closer cooperation with other European microelectronics clusters. Heinz Martin Esser adds: "Supported by the Saxon state government and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, we have set the course and are now hoping for an intense cooperation with Brussels."

Leading-edge technologies from Silicon Saxony make vital contribution to a European digital strategy

To keep up with the global progress, enterprises in Saxony are continuously advancing their technologies and are even fathering novel ideas. The development of the so-called FD-SOI-technology by Globalfoundries is a major example for the fruitful European cluster work.  Having been created in the technological region Grenoble, this novel chip technology platform is being perfected in Dresden for its production stage. In a high-volume production, Globalfoundries aims at manufacturing particularly powerful, energy efficient bus also economical chips for applications in the field of the Internet of Things.
Infineon too puts great emphasis on advancing its competitiveness and is the only enterprise worldwide that has produced power semiconductors on 300 mm thin wafers since 2012. There, Infineon has been the world's market leader for years and aims at extending its capacities in Dresden. For that, the enterprise has planned to invest hundred of millions euros within the years to come.

European technological promotion for growth and competitiveness
The European Commission has become aware that micro and nanoelectronics is a decisive innovation trigger in almost any industrial sector and is hence imperative for the sustainable competitiveness of the business site Europe. To improve the promotion conditions in Europe and to ensure economic growth and the competitiveness of the industry, the Commission has adopted a new regulation for promoting "Important Projects of Common European Interest“ – IPCEI).

Since July 2014, the promotion of ventures with a clear European dimension has been substantially facilitated by this special regulation. Business sites with strategically crucial know-how such as in the field of micro and nanoelectronics in Europe will thus be strengthened and supported sustainably.
In their speeches, the Dresden members of the Bundestag Andreas Lämmel and Arnold Vaatz (both CDU), who had invited EU commissioner Oettinger, highlighted the significance of Silicon Saxony for Saxony as a business site. They both indicated hardware and software to be pivotal pillars for the Free State of Saxony. With the combination of microelectronics and software, fast 5G mobile communication, experts for state-of-the-art sensor systems and a long tradition in automotive, machine and plant engineering, Saxony has available those technological components required for a realization of a cross linked, automated, secure and energy efficient industrial production.

In view of the economic structure of the Saxon mid-sized business sector, the Dresden members of the Bundestag see clear opportunities for a sustainable growth with innovative products "Made in Saxony". As Arnold Vaatz remarks:  "With the trade association Silicon Saxony, Dresden is the outstanding European location for micro and nanoelectronics. This location positively needs to be maintained and expanded. That is why Digital Commissioner Günther Oettinger has accepted our invitation today, to debate the practicality and future viability of the EU digital agenda." As Andreas Lämmel adds: "In 2013, the EU Commission formulated its new industrial strategy with the target to increase the European share in chip production to 20 percent of the world production. We prompt the EU Commission to consequently follow that direction of innovation promotion and to properly respond to the subsidy race posed on Europe by the US-Americans and East Asians."


Photos: Infineon Technologies Dresden