The European Union needs to break the tremendous dependence they have on countries like Taiwan or South Korea in the field of semiconductors. And to achieve this, it requires increasingly urgent that the large chip manufacturers decide to start production plants in Europe.
So vital has it become to achieve some autonomy is this strategic sector, that the Commission is even inclined to relax the strict rules with which it controls state aid. In fact, in what would be an amendment to the economic policy of the EU of the last 20 years, it would be willing to make exceptions for these manufacturers, if in this way some of the leading companies invest in the old continent.
The news was given a few days ago by the Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, while limiting, however, the French aspirations so that this type of aid does not find any restriction. In this sense, the Commission, which oversees antitrust policy in the 27 EU countries, “will try to ensure that this aid is subject to strong guarantees of competition and that the benefits are distributed widely and without discrimination throughout the European economy.” , he assured at a press conference.
Community policy further added that each application would be closely scrutinized by the EC and that projects with a European character would be particularly valued, so as to avoid entering a ‘race for the best grants’ within and outside the Union.
The Commission’s announcement is especially significant at a time when the supply crisis is joined by the approval of CHIPS for America, with which the United States wants to compete with Asian countries in this area, and the last Brussels declaration with which it undertakes to double the number of chips that are produced in community territory within ten years.
As many of you know, at the moment the most promising project in the short term is the investment of up to 80,000 million euros by Intel in the next decade, with France and Germany as the most likely countries in which the American multinational will end up installing its new semiconductor plant.
According to the Commission’s own calculations, the construction of a factory of this type could add between 77,000 and 85,000 million euros of additional GDP to the continent in that same period of time, which would double the cost of its start-up. Still, smaller nations such as Ireland or the Netherlands believe that the foreseeable subsidies to Intel could jeopardize fair competition between member countries … so the EC is going to have to fine-tune the matter.
On the other hand, the European body has insisted that controls on operations and acquisitions in the technology sector will continue to be maintained and cases such as those of NVIDIA and ARM, are only an appetizer of what we could see in future operations.