Call for Action on Electronics from Germany and Europe
3 January 2022 - If the European Union, with its innovative industry, wants to remain a world leader in the future, we must act - now. Highly innovative microelectronics technologies play a very central role in Europe's future. Without innovations in all sectors of microelectronics, the future challenges facing society in areas such as climate change, climate-neutral mobility, digitization and sustainable energy supply cannot be solved. Political decision-makers in Europe must rise to the challenge for the benefit of Europe as a whole as Europe is increasingly being left behind by the USA and Asia, including in the important field of microelectronics. Only if this situation is changed quickly can Europe retain fair, non-discriminatory and crisis-proof access to global microelectronics solutions.
The EU needs a high-performance, innovative microelectronics ecosystem as quickly as possible, as well as technological sovereignty in key areas of the value chain: from materials to equipment and design to high-volume manufacturing. "It's 5 to 12!" Funding individual projects alone will not be enough.
Why is Europe increasingly being left behind by the U.S. and Asia, even in important microelectronics? In the U.S. and Asia, active industrial policy is being pursued to maintain their own performance capabilities. The extraordinary importance of microelectronics for all future technologies is omnipresent. Anyone who relies exclusively on the free market for microelectronics will soon realize - and we are already experiencing this: keyword chip shortage - that Europe's technological future is at stake. Without an efficient, innovative microelectronics ecosystem, we no longer need to talk about technological sovereignty.
The competition in North America and Asia is already acting. There, high double-digit billion sums are being invested to further expand the leading role in microelectronics. Europe has set its sights on an ambitious market share of 20 percent. This turned into a stagnant 8 percent and most recently only 7 percent.
With the attached paper "Hidden Electronics III - Call for Action on Electronics from Germany and Europe", the VDE puts its finger on the wound:
- In order to improve the situation for Europe and create competitive advantages again, hurdles to investment must be removed - from excessive bureaucracy to restrictive antitrust policies to vagueness in the tax system.
- At the same time, it is necessary to establish an internationally benchmarkable support system that makes and implements decisions quickly at regional, national and European level.
- In addition to the lack of availability of components and raw materials, the increasing shortage of qualified skilled personnel poses major challenges for industry and society in Europe. The quality of training must be increased, qualification opportunities must be made more modern and adapted to demand - because we need the brightest minds to survive on the world market.
- Europe needs a broad-based microelectronics master plan that is not tied to the timetable of the European elections. There must be a broad dialog between science, research, industry and politics - the VDE is fully available for this.
Download our VDE paper “Hidden Electronics III”.