ESIA tells European Commission to hurry up with IPCEI financial support
In a press statement ESIA pointed out that the European region is at risk of losing out to faster-moving and bigger-spending competition.
The second IPCEI [important project of common European interest] on microelectronics, which could see national governments providing hundreds of millions of euros to domestic chip companies, has been discussed as being in the works, throughout the year (see Germany ready to help Europe invest ‘billions’ in chip manufacturing). However, ESIA said that the “pre-notification” of the IPCEI on Microelectronics and Communications Technologies has yet to be issued and that the safeguarding of European competitiveness in semiconductors is becoming an “urgent matter.”
The IPCEI is a funding mechanism whereby the European Commission can approve state aid for projects including the building of manufacturing infrastructure, notwithstanding undertakings against subsidy made with the World Trade Organization.
Meanwhile politicians such as European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and Thierry Breton have been calling for Europe to invest to catch up in domestic production of chips and to develop leading-edge technical capability (see EU proposes Chips Act to build technology sovereignty).
However, European chip companies have stopped the development leading-edge chip technologies and production, having made the strategic decision to outsource any high-performance chip requirements to foundry chipmakers. European chip companies’ interest lies in gaining support for specialist and mainstream chip production that is behind the leading-edge in terms of miniaturisation.
“While ESIA is welcoming the political ambition from the European Commission and Member States to support the European semiconductor industry, it is necessary to stress that the pre-notification of the IPCEI on Microelectronics and Communications Technologies has yet to be issued. The industry is ready to do everything necessary, together with the member states and the European Commission, to bring this process to a rapid conclusion,” ESIA said in a statement.
ESIA pointed out that while Europe is not moving, governments around the world are pressing ahead with incentive programmes. The US is moving legislation to provide $52 billion to boost chip manufacturing there. South Korea has followed suit with a plan to provide $65 billion in public funds to make sure it doesn’t lose market share, ESIA noted. The People’s Republic of China is spending up to $160 billion to try and achieve an ambition of producing 70 percent of its semiconductor needs by 2025, ESIA added.
“Therefore, ESIA is urging the European Commission and EU member states to swiftly proceed with the pre-notification of the IPCEI, so that its industry may speed up research, development and innovation projects and associated first industrial deployment without any further delay,” the organization concluded.
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