Brussels, 8 February 2022
The College of Commissioners has adopted today the European Chips Act. In the European Chips Act, we are combining investment, a regulatory framework and the necessary strategic partnerships to make Europe a leader in this market that is so important. The global demand, as you know, for chips is exponentially growing. Chips are at the centre of the global technological race. They are, of course, also the bedrock of our modern economies. They are essential for the goods that we use on an everyday basis – we have them in our smartphones; we have them in our washing machines. During the pandemic, for example, we needed them crucially in the life-saving ventilators. Or now, for example, with the energy topic, they are in the electric grids. So the chips are crucial in almost every device.
But the pandemic has also painfully exposed the vulnerability of chips supply chains. You all know that the global shortage of chips has really slowed down our recovery. We have seen that whole production lines came to a standstill, for example with cars. While the demand was increasing, we could not deliver as needed because of the lack of chips.
So this European Chips Act comes absolutely at the right time. And it has two main goals: The first goal is, in the short term, to increase our resilience to future crises by anticipating and thus avoiding supply chain disruptions. And the second part is, of course, looking at the mid-term, and there to make Europe an industrial leader in this very strategic market. For that, we have set ourselves goals. We have set ourselves the goal to have, in 2030, 20% of the global market share of chips production, here in Europe. Right now, we are at 9%, we want to go to 20% in 2030. But knowing that the demand in the global market will double during that time, it basically means quadrupling our efforts. The European Chips Act will back this ambition with considerable investment. It will enable EUR 15 billion in additional public and private investment until 2030. This comes on top of EUR 30 billion of public investments that we have already planned, for example in NextGenerationEU, in Horizon Europe or in the national budgets. And then, these funds are to be matched by further long-term private investments.
Now, the European Chips Act will focus on five specific areas. The first is research. In this field, Europe is already excellent. We are world leader. And now, we are basically going from strength to strength. We will further focus on small, energy-efficient transistors and on disruptive technologies for artificial intelligence. The second focus can basically be summarised by the motto: From the lab, to the fab. We now need to translate this excellence in research – I was just reflecting on – into industrial innovation, so market-feasible products. And thus, we will bridge the gap between the laboratory and the actual manufacturing in Europe. And this leads me to the third point, and that is industry production. Europe needs advanced production facilities, which come, of course, with a huge up-front cost. We are therefore adapting our state aid rules, of course under strict conditions. This will allow – for the first time – public support for European ‘first of a kind’ production facilities. And as they are ‘first of a kind’, they benefit all of Europe. My fourth point is that we will also support smaller, innovative companies, the SMEs, the start-ups we need. We will support them to find the employees that have the skills that are needed; we will support them by finding the industrial partners; and we will support them, of course, with equity finance that is necessary.
And finally – I come back where I started – it is about the supply chains. It should be clear that no country – and even no continent – can be entirely self-sufficient. This is impossible. Europe will always work to keep global markets open and to keep them connected. This is in the world’s interest; it is in our own interest, too. But what we need to tackle are the bottlenecks that slow down our growth, as we are just experiencing it right now. And therefore, Europe will build partnerships on chips with like-minded partners, for example the United States or for example Japan. It is about balanced interdependencies and it is about reliability.
With the European Chips Act, we are putting out the investment and the strategy. But the key to our success lies in Europe’s innovators, in our world-class researchers, in the people who have made our continent prosper throughout the decades. Europe is the continent where all the industrial revolutions have started. And Europe can be the home of the next industrial revolution, too.
Thank you so much.