Monday, April 12, 2021

Using pandemic stimulus funds, Europe sets out to expand its semiconductor industry

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Half of the countries of the European Union, including Germany and France, are joining forces to develop semiconductors for use in self-driving cars, data centers, AI and supercomputers.

Europe already has a sizeable semiconductor industry with particular strengths in areas such as smart cards and sensors, but it remains small compared to the United States, South Korea and from Taiwan – European companies only have a tenth of the world’s $ 530 billion semiconductor market.

So in a joint statement released on Monday, EU countries said they would set up an industrial alliance to remedy the situation.

Semiconductors are used in everything from cars and smartphones to medical devices and environmental sensors. In their joint statement, the countries warned that components “determine the characteristics of the products into which they are incorporated – including security, privacy, energy performance and security – that shape how the green and digital transition of Europe will unfold. “

This is not the first time that major EU countries have pushed for greater technological independence in recent years – Germany and France are also develop a European cloud network.

But Europe’s growing push for sovereigntyIsn’t the only problem here – the coronavirus pandemic and current geopolitical tensions have also highlighted the dangers of having to import crucial items. And the EU relies on other parts of the world for most of its data processing and electronic communications chips.

“Europe has everything it takes to diversify and reduce critical dependencies, while remaining open,” said Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market. “So we will need to set ambitious plans, from chip design to advanced manufacturing evolving into 2nm nodes, with the goal of differentiating and leading our most important value chains.”

Part of the money for this joint initiative will come from European and national pandemic recovery funds, one-fifth of which is expected to go towards the continent’s digital transition.

“This opportunity to invest in research, design and production capacity for processors in Europe should not be missed,” said the joint statement.

It set a 2025 target to boost the EU’s semiconductor production capabilities and develop faster and more energy-efficient processor chips.

All 27 EU member states are invited to sign the joint declaration, but for now the signatories are Germany, France, Greece, Belgium, Estonia, Spain, Italy , Croatia, the Netherlands, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia, Finland and Romania. .

More to read absolutely technological coverage of Fortune:

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