BRUSSELS: Semiconductor research projects with €8 billion (US$8.6 billion) in public funds were approved by the European Union’s executive arm as part of a push to increase the bloc’s domestic chip-supply chain.
The projects are backed by a total €13.7 billion in private funding, amounting to about €22 billion, the European Commission announced Thursday. It said a total of 68 Important Projects of Common European Interest — or IPCEI — have been given the go-ahead from 56 companies in 19 countries, including Norway.
“Europe is taking its destiny into its own hands,” Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton wrote in a blog post. “By mastering the most advanced semiconductors, EU will become an industrial powerhouse in markets of the future.”
The commission proposed the EU’s Chips Act in early 2022, setting an ambitious goal to produce 20% of the world’s semiconductors by 2030. These IPCEI projects form one component of that plan, which also opened the door for governments to provide funds for production facilities.
So far, companies like Intel Corp, Infineon Technologies AG, STMicroelectronics NV, GlobalFoundries Inc and Wolfspeed Inc have all announced new investments. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co is also looking at building a production site in Germany.
Some businesses, however, have been critical of the timeframe it took to get the IPCEI projects approved.
German economy minister Robert Habeck praised the decision, saying Germany has 31 projects in 11 regions. “We can thus increase resilience across Europe in this important field and secure value creation and jobs,” he said in a news release.