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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”.

New VDE studies to reach climate neutrality in the railway sector

VDE published 3 studies on alternative driving solutions for the railway sector to reach climate-neutral mobility by 2050:

Through these studies VDE provides neutral and independent expertise through neutral and independent studies. The aim is to provide solutions to respond to the EU objective to become climate neutral by 2050. The studies focus on the technical, systemic and economic aspects of emission-free drives in the railway sector, offering concrete case studies and clearly defined decision-making criteria. Taking the example of Germany, 40 per cent of the German rail network – one of the densest in the world – has yet to be electrified. Diesel multiple units account for about one third of the train kilometers travelled today.

To learn more about those studies and the approach used by VDE, visit the webpage Alternative drive solutions - VDE

Call to achieve technological sovereignty in micro-electronics and photonics

Two new VDE position papers on “Hidden electronics” and “Photonic-electronic integration – key technology for communications and sensors”

March 2021 - Complementing VDE paper on technological sovereignty, our experts from VDE ITG are now calling politicians for a European long-term vision on micro-electronics and photonics: The goal must be to achieve technological sovereignty in the two key technologies of microelectronics and photonic-electronic integration and channel this into new business models. By combining these key technologies intelligently, our industry has the chance to become the global market leader. “If we are strong in photonic-electronic integration, our industrial sector will have an entirely different negotiating scope in a globalized world market,” recommends VDE, which sees the geopolitical situation as increasingly difficult.

About micro-electronics: “The system-relevant chip industry affects the entire national economy. The current crisis in the automotive sector shows just how dependent our industries are on semiconductor manufacturers in Asia and the United States,” VDE explains. In the new position paper “Hidden Electronics II”, the technology experts analyze the status quo of microelectronics and show how both Germany and Europe can achieve technological sovereignty – if only they have the necessary political will.

About photonic-electronic integration: “Photonic-electronic integration is currently still at an intermediate stage around the world, anything is still possible. We need to establish targeted support programs to research photonic-electronic integrated solutions for communications and sensors in industry-led joint projects and get them ready for use in applications. We can back up our industrial sector with a strong position in research and development to further expand on our already solid standing,” announced VDE while presenting its new position paper on the importance of photonics.

It is time to act and make Europe a hub for the microelectronics industry. A first step in this direction would be the establishment of “Electronics for Europe” masterplan at the European political level. 

Learn more about VDE call for action on micro-electronics and photonics in the 2 VDE position papers:

VDE Study on Technological Sovereignty

Digital Sovereignty Paper
Copyright VDE e.V.

February 2021 - In 2020 VDE ITG, the ‘Information Technology Society’ in VDE, the German Association for Electrical Electronic & Information Technologies, published a study on digital sovereignty in German. We are now happy to announce that the study is also available in English:

The study takes place in the context of the political and societal debate around the concept of digital and technological sovereignty trying to tackle how to sustain or establish trust in ICT infrastructures and how we can maintain or restore our capacity to act. Hence, it addresses specialized experts but as well the policy sector in Germany and in the EU.

The aim of the paper is to discuss the meaning of technological sovereignty. It highlights that the requirements for technological sovereignty should always also be evaluated from the European perspective. After analyzing how Europe can recover technological sovereignty, it defines a set of specific recommendations.

It confirms the need for digital sovereignty in the field of ICT technologies, showing how by fostering training and boosting research, technological sovereignty can be warranted with a positive effect on economy and society. The study also focuses on 2 technological examples with artificial intelligence and 5G.

For more information on the study and contacts with our experts, please contact VDE Brussels Representation.

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