Paul van Gerven
14 December 2020

By signing a joint declaration, a group of 18 EU member states have agreed to collaborate on expanding Europe’s presence in the global electronics and semiconductor industries. Using funds from the Recovery and Resilience Facility, which was set up to mitigate the economic and social impact of the coronavirus pandemic, their ambitions include building leading-edge manufacturing capability, eventually advancing towards 2nm nodes.

Despite some notable strengths in specific areas, such as power and RF ICs, the signatories consider Europe’s 10 percent market share of the total semiconductor market to be “well below its economic standing.” Additionally, the pandemic and geopolitical tensions have raised worries about Europe’s dependence on other parts of the world for crucial technology. “Europe has all it takes to diversify and reduce critical dependencies, while remaining open. We’ll therefore need to set ambitious plans, from design of chips to advanced manufacturing progressing towards 2nm nodes, with the aim of differentiating and leading on our most important value chains,” says Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, who welcomes the declaration.

chip

“We need to strengthen Europe’s capacity to develop the next generation of processors and semiconductors. This includes chips and embedded systems that offer the best performance for specific applications across a wide range of sectors,” according to the declaration. These applications include “high-speed connectivity, automated vehicles, aerospace and defense, health and agri food, artificial intelligence, data centers, integrated photonics, supercomputing and quantum computing, amongst other initiatives to bolster the whole electronics and embedded systems value chain.”

The Recovery and Resilience Facility has 672.5 billion euros available for distribution through loans and grants. The 18 ‘ambitious’ member states call for earmarking 20 percent of the facility for the digital transition. That would amount to 145 billion euros over the next 2 to 3 years.

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