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EU: EC approves investment in microelectronics

 |  December 18, 2018

On Tuesday, December 18, the European Commission found that an integrated project jointly notified by France, Germany, Italy, and the UK for research and innovation in microelectronics, a key enabling technology, is in line with EU State aid rules and contributes to a common European interest.

The four Member States will provide in the coming years up to €1.75 billion in funding for this project that aims to unlock an additional €6 billion in private investment. The project should be completed by 2024 (with differing timelines for each sub-project).

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Microelectronics can be found in almost all electronic devices we use every day – be it your phone, computer, washing machine, or your car. Innovation in microelectronics can help the whole of Europe leap ahead in innovation. That’s why it makes sense for European governments to come together to support such important projects of common European interest, if the market alone would not take the risk. And it is why we have put special State aid rules in place to smooth the way. They enable risky and groundbreaking research and innovation to see the light of day, whilst ensuring that its benefits are shared widely and do not distort the level playing field in Europe. So that innovation supported by taxpayer money truly serves European citizens.”

Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, in charge of Digital Economy and Society said: “Every connected device, every modern machine, all our digital services depend on microelectronic components that become smaller and faster with time. If we don’t want to depend on others for such essential technology, for example for security or performance reasons, we have to be able to design and produce them ourselves. Today’s decision is a result of enhanced cooperation and shared European vision.”

On November 30, France, Germany, Italy, and the UK jointly notified to the Commission an Important Project of Common European Interest to support research and innovation in microelectronics. Microelectronics are small electronic components usually made of semiconductor materials such as silicon. The basic microelectronic components, commonly known as chips and sensors, can be found in almost all electronic devices.

The integrated research and innovation project will involve 29 direct participants, headquartered both in and outside the EU. They are mostly industrial actors but also two research organizations, carrying out 40 closely interlinked sub-projects.

These direct participants will work in collaboration with a large number of partners, such as other research organizations or small and medium-sized enterprises, also beyond the four Member States.

Full Content: Europa Press

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