EU Commissioner Thierry Breton in his speech on 15 July 2020 at Hannover Messe Digital Days, put data, microelectronics and connectivity at the heart of Europe’s digital sovereignty.
“Without an autonomous European capacity in microelectronics, there will be no European digital sovereignty,” said Thierry Breton. Noting that corona virus is confronting Europe “…with our over-reliance on others in critical areas,” Mr Breton added: “The moment has come to identify and invest in the digital technologies that will underpin our sovereignty and our industrial future.”
There are three areas where Europe has clear objectives and scale, he continued: data, microelectronics and connectivity. Based on this vision, Mr Breton announced plans for a European Alliance for Industrial Data and Clouds and for safe, rapid deployment of 5G. And at the heart of Europe’s digital sovereignty, he put rebuilding Europe’s capacity to produce high-quality microelectronics.
Citing the success of the EU ECSEL initiative in raising Europe’s production of microelectronics from 6% to 10% in five years, Mr Breton said: “Now, we must invest massively, with the objective to produce in Europe high performance processors (with a 2 to 3nm of feature size) and reach 20% of the world capacity in value.”Europe has all it needs to develop its own industrial value chain. It is the world’s producer of machines to manufacture chips. What matters is political will and up-scaling collective investment, he stated.
To back this up, Mr Breton spoke of a possible of a European alliance on microelectronics, with an R&D pillar and a production pillar, and an initial combined public and private investment of €20 to €30 billion. “The real industrial revolution is starting now – provided we make the right investments in key digital technologies,” he concluded.