The IPCEI plan for microelectronics has been worked on in the wings for a few years and some monies have already been dispersed by Germany (see European chip project worth 'billions' is making progress).
Now the EC has formally agreed that a project jointly notified by France, Germany, Italy and the UK for research and innovation in microelectronics is in line with EU state aid rules and contributes to a common European interest.
It will be the member states that will provide in the coming years up to €1.75 billion in funding with the expectation that this will unlock an additional €6 billion (about $7 billion) in private investment. The project should be completed by 2024, with differing timelines for each sub-project.
Competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, said: "Innovation in microelectronics can help the whole of Europe leap ahead in innovation. That's why it makes sense for European governments to come together to support such important projects of common European interest, if the market alone would not take the risk. And it is why we have put special State aid rules in place to smooth the way. They enable risky and ground-breaking research and innovation to see the light of day, whilst ensuring that its benefits are shared widely and do not distort the level playing field in Europe. So that innovation supported by taxpayer money truly serves European citizens."
Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, in charge of Digital Economy and Society said: "If we don't want to depend on others for such essential technology, for example for security or performance reasons, we have to be able to design and produce them ourselves. Today's decision is a result of enhanced cooperation and shared European vision."
Despite a multi-year gestation the IPCEI was notified to the Commission on November 30. The projects overall objective is to develop innovative components and technologies for use in downstream applications such as home appliances automated vehicles, and commercial and industrial devices including the Internet of Things and autonomous vehicles.
This is the first integrated IPCEI in the field of research, development and innovation approved by the Commission since the adoption of the Communication in 2014.
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