Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Brussels, 7 June 2023

Press statement by President von der Leyen with Prime Minister De Croo and Minister-President of the Flemish government Jambon on the occasion of the visit to IMEC

I want to thank, first of all, the hosts here,

Thank you very much, Prime Minister de Croo, dear Alexander,

Minister-President Jambon, it is a pleasure to see you,

Minister Brouns,

Luc Van den hove, thank you very much for hosting us here today,

And I am very glad to see Peter Wennink here too,

Thank you very much for the very warm welcome we received here. I am very glad that we are here today in Belgium as an innovation powerhouse at the heart of Europe and with IMEC as a digital innovation champion, unique worldwide, born in the heart of Flanders, in one of the oldest universities of Europe, IMEC is basically inventing the future. Because you have since long understood how to build world-class tech leadership, through innovation but also through collaboration. You have become an indispensable partner to the global semiconductor industry, always reaching for the next frontier.

The European Union has been a reliable partner on your side in this journey. Throughout the past decade, over EUR 300 million of investments from the flagship programmes Horizon 2020 and then Horizon Europe have gone to IMEC. And now, we are basically opening a new chapter with the Chips Act. We want to make Europe a leader in global semiconductor research, design, testing and production. The Chips Act will formally enter into force only this autumn, but it is already generating an amazing momentum. Since we proposed the European Chips Act in February last year, more than EUR 90 billion of industrial investments in Europe have been announced; for instance, EUR 12 billion for a semiconductor packaging and test facility in Poland; or take the EUR 30 billion for two first-of-a-kind fabs in Magdeburg, Germany. But we also see investments in Dublin, Catania, Grenoble and Dresden.

The Chips Act is sending a very powerful message. It provides concrete opportunities for funding to build capacity along the whole value chain. And it builds on European strengths, like the world-leading research and piloting conducted at IMEC. IMEC is a key attraction for investors who need to research and test their innovations before mass production. So IMEC is facilitating these investments and also benefitting from these investments. Vital is also the public-private partnership to succeed at scale. I know that Flanders is planning on making a significant co-investment in one cutting-edge pilot line in IMEC. The Chips Act – thus the European level – will provide major funding for three cutting-edge pilot lines. And I very much welcome that the new partnership you have just announced with ASML is emerging – of course, grounded on a very long-lasting friendship and partnership –, ASML is another pillar of strength in Europe’s chips ecosystem.

This brings me to my second point, and that is collaboration. You already have a solid network, spanning across the Union, and indeed across the whole world. And you are actively reinforcing it: from Spain to Romania, from Ireland to Finland. You are working with German, French and Finnish partners on edge AI chips, for instance. Such collaborations will nurture European players in our chips ecosystem – and will also attract trusted global players.

My final point is about the geopolitical context. Chips are essential for our green and digital transitions, and for our economies. Our economy would not function without chips. So we need to reduce our dependency on too few suppliers from East Asia. We actively have to de-risk our supply chains for chips – it is vital. And we need to promote the design, testing and production here in Europe. For that, the  Chips Act is the game changer. And innovation champions like IMEC are a vital asset for our economic security.

Thank you very much for having me here, and I am very much looking forward to the visit.
Source – EU Commission


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