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News & Events

Tánaiste seeks views on European Chips Act

The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar TD today launched a public consultation seeking views on the proposed European Chips Act.

Semiconductor chips are used in numerous everyday products including smartphones and cars in addition to critical applications and infrastructure in health, energy, communications, and automation. Thus, semiconductor chips are central to Europe’s digital and green transitions.

However, the world is currently facing a shortage in semiconductor chips and the recent crisis has revealed structural vulnerabilities in the European value chain.

The EU Chips Act was proposed by the European Commission on the 8th of February 2022. The Strategy has five objectives:

  • Europe should strengthen its research and technology leadership;
  • Europe should build and reinforce its own capacity to innovate in the design, manufacturing and packaging of advanced chips, and turn them into commercial products;
  • Europe should put in place an adequate framework to increase substantially its production capacity by 2030;
  • Europe should address the acute skills shortage, attract new talent and support the emergence of a skilled workforce;
  • Europe should develop an in-depth understanding of global semiconductor supply chains. 

Announcing the public consultation, the Tánaiste said:

“Semiconductor chips have become essential to our everyday lives. They’re in our phones, tablets and laptops, our cars, fridges and watches. They’re used in pacemakers and other critical medical devices.

“As we move towards a digital and decarbonised future, our need for these chips is only going to grow. In recognition of this, the European Commission has published a proposed regulation to strengthen Europe’s microchip and semiconductor industry.

“We are looking at how we can ensure we have the supply we need.  Europe has the potential to become a leader in the field of microchip production, from research right through to production and we need to see how we can make that happen.

“Ireland will play a central role. The industry is already thriving here and this proposal presents new opportunities at all stages of the value chain. I look forward to hearing views on the proposal and will carefully consider all received as we negotiate the regulation with our colleagues in Brussels.”

The consultation is seeking views on the range of measures proposed by the EU Commission and provides an opportunity to give commentary to inform Ireland’s position. The Department invites all interested stakeholders to give a response. The deadline for submissions is 5pm, 18 March 2022.

NOTES TO EDITOR

The Chips Act is built on three pillars:

Pillar 1: A Chips for Europe Initiative – the Initiative will build infrastructure in synergy with the EU research programmes. The Initiative will build a virtual design platform which will be open and non-discriminatory to stimulate wide cooperation among users including design houses, start-ups, SMEs, IP and tool suppliers and research and technology organisations. The Initiative will also support pilot lines which will provide the means for third parties under open, transparent, and non-discriminatory terms to test, validate and further develop their product design. In addition, it will support a network of competence centres across the Union that will provide expertise to stakeholders. A ‘Chips Fund’ will provide increased availability of funds to support the growth of start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs.

Pillar 2: A framework to ensure security of supply – this framework will support the attraction of investments and enhanced production capacities in semiconductor manufacturing as well as advanced packaging, test, and assembly via first-of-a-kind Integrated Production Facilities and Open EU Foundries.

Pillar 3: A coordination mechanism between Member States and the Commission –The mechanism will include activities such as monitoring supply and anticipating shortages, a crisis coordination mechanism between Member States and strong Commission powers during times of crisis.

Further information can be found at: Proposal for a Regulation establishing a framework of measures for strengthening Europe’s semiconductor ecosystem (Chips Act)

A link to the public consultation can be found at: Public Consultation on the European Chips Act - DETE (enterprise.gov.ie)

The Commission’s proposal will now be considered by the European Council and European Parliament with a view to finalising the proposal by the end of the year.