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Thursday | January 21, 2021
European Union: between awareness and latency

European Union: between awareness and latency

The year 2020 will have had the merit of exploding in the face of the general public and also of certain leaders of the European Union what we have been seeing for years: the global economic dependence of technology on the world’s largest workshop, China.

The European Union discovers its dependence on China

We recently published a full article on the consequences that have manifested themselves in recent months and that we will certainly have to suffer for a few years. The affair of the purchase of masks has undoubtedly painfully awakened certain consciences. The same people who for years have accepted that in sectors such as technology, one almost voluntarily places oneself in a situation of dependency, the outcome of which was not in doubt.

Setting up a European foundry..

Returning to the technology sector, the total dependence of European countries is glaring. The movements that began many months ago between the United States and China have finally convinced most EU countries that they need to think about ways to stop depending on silicon manufactured by third parties.

Samsung Foundry / Union européenne Foundry

Foundry Samsung

With this in mind, 17 of the 24 countries that make up the European Union have signed a joint declaration for the development of new generation processors with low energy consumption and using a 2 nm manufacturing process. The principle of a “European” foundry is therefore on the table, and in order to achieve this, a budget of 145,000 million euros has been approved for the next two or three years. France, Germany, Croatia, Estonia, Italy, Greece, Belgium, Malta, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal, Austria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Romania, Finland and Cyprus are the 17 countries that have agreed to jointly develop these technologies. The focus is on the start-up and operation of a 2 nm lithography, which will enable the creation of silicon for mobile telephony, aerospace and defence, the Internet of Things, health equipment, …. Ultimately, the European Union wants independence in high-performance computing technologies, and to achieve this it will rely on the RISC-V architecture. The head of the European Union’s digital department is none other than Frenchman Thierry Breton, who worked for Bull, Thomson and France Télécom before becoming Minister of the Economy from 2005 to 2007. “A collective approach can help us to build on our strengths and seize new opportunities at a time when advanced electronic chips are increasingly important for Europe’s digital sovereignty and industrial strategy” (Th.BRETON )

Too late, too complicated?

However, beyond the declarations of European officials, there is still competition between very different companies within the EU. Putting conflicting interests in the same direction of movement will not be easy without a concentration of capital. In the field of research and innovation, France seems to have serious arguments with the CEA, Soitec and others. Concerning production, Germany has its champion Infineon Technologies… nearly 10 times smaller than Intel. Foundries 2020 No company today seems to be able to raise capital to turn the corner and turn the tables. The European ambition will therefore have to deal with divergent interests, so the Koreans, the Chinese or the Americans finance the R&D of their industries at very important levels. In this new phase of this economic war, anticipation and speed of action are the main assets. Are these characteristics part of the DNA of the European Union? We leave it to you to judge.

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Edited by Calliers

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