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EU launches new industry strategy and commits to European microelectronics

The European Commission proposed a New European Industrial Strategy for Electronics to mobilise €100 billion in new private investments for micro- and nanoelectronics. Its goal is to strengthen the advanced manufacturing in Europe.

In her statement, European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said: “I want to double our chip production to around 20% of global production. I want Europe to produce more chips in Europe than the United States produces domestically. It’s a realistic goal if we channel our investments properly.”
With this decision, the Commission acknowledges the fact that the European electronics sector underpins Europe’s wider industrial competitiveness because it is a Key Enabling Technology for other sectors, from energy to automotive to health. Therefore, a growing electronics sector is essential for growth and jobs in Europe. Micro- and nanolectronic components and systems are not only essential for digital products and services, they are also the basis for innovation and competitiveness in all large industry sectors. Thanks to their electronic components all of todays cars, planes and trains are safer, more energy-efficient and more comfortable. It is the same with large industries such as health care and medical technologies, energy and safety systems.

With an average annual growth of about 5 per cent since 2000 the European electronics industry today counts for more than 200,000 direct employees, is the basis for more than a million additional jobs – and still looking for highly trained experts.

In the last 15 years huge efforts have been made to strengthen the industry and technology cluster in Europe, the EU said. In the face of future possibilities and the challenges the industry is facing today it was high time all public programmes were enforced and coordinated, the statement reads on. This strategy would eventually be to the profit of all European industry sectors, since at least 10 per cent of the GDP was depending on electronic products and services.

“Others are aggressively investing in computer chips and Europe cannot be left behind. We have to reinforce and connect our existing strongholds and develop new strengths. A rapid and strong coordination of public investment at EU, Member State and regional level is needed to ensure that transformation“, says Kroes.

In the course of this industry policy the European Commission proposed higher and better-coordinated investments in research, development and innovation. The effect of these steps shall be maximised by transnational cooperation. 70 per cent shall be be funded by the member states, 30 per cent by the EU.
Furthermore, the development of the European leading electronics cluster in Dresden (Germany), Grenoble (France), Eindhoven (the Netherlands) and Leuven (Belgium) shall be promoted and the cluster’s connections to other leading European clusters such as Cambridge (Britain), Kärnten (Austria), Dublin (Ireland), Milan (Italy).
In the core of the strategy are three interdependent development strings: cheaper chips thanks to the transition to 450mm wafers, faster chips (“more Moore”) and more intelligent chips (“more than Moore”).

The EU plans to mobilise 10 billion Euro from private, regional, national and EU sources for a number of joint research and innovation goals, 5 billion of the sum shall be realised by public-private partnerships. This 7-year-partnershops shall cover the whole value and innovation chain of electronics and also finance large innovation projects in the course of the EU programme “Horizon 2020”.

“With this strategy European industry will be better placed to convert engineering innovations into commercially deployable technologies“, Kroes emphasises, The European Commission expects a number of results once this new strategy is successfully implemented: a higher availability of micro- and nanoelectronics for European key technologies, an expanded supply chain, a larger ecosystem more favourable for small and medium-sized enterprises, higher investments in advanced manufacturing and the support of innovations along the whole value chain in order to increase Europe’s industrial competitiveness.
Behind this ambitious goals of the Commission are researchers and industry partners such as the cluster partners of Silicon Europe who explained at the end of 2012, how this sum of 100 billion Euro can be raised between 2013 and 2020.