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European semiconductor regions want to further expand cooperation

10

juni

First annual meeting of the European Semiconductor Regions Alliance in the Saxon capital

Dresden (May 29, 2024) – The European semiconductor regions want to further expand their cooperation. This was confirmed by the top representatives of the European Semiconductor Regions Alliance (ESRA) at the first annual meeting of the alliance on Wednesday in Dresden.

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The alliance, which now includes 31 regions, was founded in Brussels in September 2023 on the initiative of the Free State of Saxony. At the meeting in Dresden at the invitation of the Free State, a joint position paper was adopted. At the same time, the Norte region (Portugal) has become the 31st member of the alliance.

Michael Kretschmer, Minister-President of the Free State of Saxony and ESRA Chairman: "The founding of ESRA was absolutely right. In this way, we create visibility and a competent point of contact for the European Commission and for national governments. Together we can make a difference. The fact that so many regions are standing together here is a strong signal and shows the great interest in even more intensive transregional cooperation in the field of European microelectronics. ESRA will make a significant contribution to ensuring that Europe is and remains competitive in this key industry in the coming years. This will not only strengthen Europe's technological sovereignty, but also promote new jobs and economic growth in the regions."

Alberto Cirio, President of the Piedmont Region (Italy) and Co-Chair of ESRA: "Joining the European Semiconductor Regions Alliance is a strategic step for the Piedmont region, as pooling our voices strengthens our influence in the semiconductor landscape. With market-leading companies and a world-class scientific research system, Piedmont is well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities opened up by the Chips Act. Cooperation strengthens our regional specialisations, boosts investment and ultimately benefits Europe as a whole. It is an honour for me to co-chair this initiative. As we prepare to take over the chairmanship of the Alliance in autumn 2024, I will work to promote ESRA's themes to other Italian regions to ensure that we all work together for a prosperous and secure future."

The position paper emphasizes the need to support the European semiconductor industry in the long term, to strengthen research and development and to create good and adequate framework conditions along the entire value chain. In addition, the signatories reaffirm their intention to cooperate even more closely, especially in vocational education and training – in order to be able to effectively counter the shortage of skilled workers.

In addition to Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer, Regional Development Minister Thomas Schmidt and State Secretary for Economic Affairs Thomas Kralinski took part in the first annual meeting in Dresden. A total of around 100 participants from the member regions travelled to the first large "family reunion".

ESRA is a working platform of the regions with the European Commission and the European Parliament to bundle the core interests of the semiconductor industry and articulate them at the political level. It aims to make an active contribution to strengthening Europe as a semiconductor location in global competition and to promote the competitiveness of the semiconductor industry in the regions of the European member states and the entire European Union.

The alliance is committed to achieving the European Commission's goal of doubling Europe's global market share in semiconductor production to 20 percent. The regions in which the high-tech ecosystems are located make a decisive contribution to this: they ensure the right framework conditions by providing the necessary complex infrastructure and research landscape, without which semiconductor production would not be possible.

Saxony had already initiated the process of founding ESRA in spring 2023. The Free State of Bavaria is the initiator of the first year, supported by the co-chairmanship region of Piedmont (Italy). ESRA now connects the following regions: Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hamburg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Saarland, Schleswig-Holstein and Thuringia in Germany, Andalusia, Basque Country, Catalonia, Madrid and Valencia in Spain, Flevoland, Gelderland, North Brabant and Overijssel in the Netherlands, Carinthia and Styria in Austria, the Centro region and the Norte region in Portugal, Flanders in Belgium, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes in France, Piedmont in Italy, Tampere and Helsinki in Finland, South Moravia in the Czech Republic, Skåne in Sweden, Wales in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.

Background on the development of ESRA

Against the backdrop of Europe's insufficient semiconductor resilience and high dependence on semiconductor imports, the European Commission proposed a comprehensive package of measures to strengthen the EU's semiconductor ecosystem at the beginning of 2022 – the European Chips Act (ECA). The Commission's goal is to increase Europe's market share in global chip manufacturing from currently only 10 percent to up to 20 percent by 2030. To achieve this, the Commission wants to mobilise public and private investment of up to 43 billion euros.

The ECA has already begun to have an impact before it comes into force in September 2023, flanked by the Important Project of Common European Interest II Microelectronics (ICPEI II ME) programme. For example, the construction of the new "Smart Power Fab" by Infineon Technologies with an investment volume of 5 billion euros and the construction of the first factory of the Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturer TSMC in a joint venture with Bosch, NXP and Infineon with an investment volume of 10.5 billion euros are taking the high-tech ecosystem in Bavaria to a new level. Other major semiconductor producers in Saxony are expanding their capacities, including Bosch, Globalfoundries and X-Fab. The entire ecosystem consisting of supplier, service and maintenance companies will grow accordingly. Thus, the current investments in the Free State since the ECA was announced already amount to a double-digit billion amount.