The European Commission has launched two initiatives aimed at reducing the EU’s reliance on foreign technologies by bringing together industry, member states and other organizations to co-invest in semiconductor and cloud and edge computing. The two alliances will develop “ambitious” roadmaps to develop and deploy the next generation of data processing technologies and semiconductors. These initiatives are part of the EU’s revamped industrial strategy, which was updated after shortages of essential goods and technologies during the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the extent to which the EU is reliant on other countries for their manufacturing.
The semiconductor initiative aims to reverse the trend of offshoring to countries with a lower cost base that began in the late 1990s, signalling the end of Europe’s position as a major semiconductor producer. As of now, at least 22 member states have signed up to the alliance. The computing alliance aims to move away from centralized data processing to edge computing, where data is stored closer to its source, and to develop and deploy secure and resource-efficient data processing technologies. The alliances are open to all public and private organizations, subject to certain conditions being met, such as complying with cybersecurity standards and having legal representation in at least one of the member states.
The semiconductor initiative aims to boost local production and bring back design and manufacturing from Asia, where 75% of global production of microchips currently takes place. By doubling Europe’s share of global semiconductor production to 20% and fabricating two-nanometre chips by 2030, the initiative aims to reduce Europe’s reliance on foreign technologies. The two-nanometre chips have the potential to cut down energy consumption on a massive scale.
The computing alliance aims to encourage the take-up of cloud services by SMEs, start-ups and the public sector, and to federate cloud capacity around Europe in line with the Franco-German Gaia-x initiative. This will allow services to be accessed seamlessly from any member state, regardless of where the physical hardware is based, with agreed policy and technical norms for all services. All 27 EU member states have signed up to be a part of the effort.
The European Commission’s two alliances represent a significant step towards reducing the EU’s reliance on foreign technologies. By boosting local production and bringing back design and manufacturing from Asia, the semiconductor initiative aims to reverse the trend of offshoring and reduce Europe’s reliance on foreign technologies. The computing alliance aims to develop and deploy secure and resource-efficient data processing technologies and encourage the take-up of cloud services by SMEs, start-ups and the public sector. By federating cloud capacity around Europe, the alliance aims to enable services to be accessed seamlessly from any member state, with agreed policy and technical norms for all services.