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SPEECH - Funding Europe's tech industry future

European Commission - SPEECH/13/165   27/02/2013

Other available languages: none

European Commission

Neelie Kroes

Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda

Funding Europe's tech industry future

Key Enabling Technologies (KET) High Level Group /Brussels

27 February 2013

I am delighted to be here today. This new, expanded High Level Group includes not just the technology sectors, but the entire value chains. That broader composition fits the approach we need for Key Enabling Technologies: comprehensive and integrating.

Here are five areas where you can help make the difference in helping us.

First, we need industry to commit. We have already done so from the public sector. Commit, and show us that you will use European funds to create investment and jobs in Europe, including for high-tech manufacturing.

We have already a good example of such joint commitment on which we can build. In line with the recommendations of the first KET high-level group, we have reacted quickly in 2012, public authorities and industry together, and committed to finance pilot-line projects in microelectronics, via the ENIAC Joint Undertaking, for a total amount of EUR 700 million. We even plan higher investments for 2013 and our plan is to continue in Horizon 2020. This is the sort of joint commitment -industry, Commission and Member States- which demonstrates the credibility of our engagement for growth and jobs in Europe.

Second, we need more attention to small and medium-sized companies, who also play a key role in Europe's innovation chain. Like by giving them access to manufacturing capabilities and research facilities.

Third, let's not act alone in technology silos, in the different compartments of EU funding. That way lies failure. If we can boost industrial leadership and competitiveness, we will also be better-placed to fix many of society's problems; and vice versa. So I hope that these different communities will cooperate and engage together.

Fourth, access to Financing. Whatever EU resources we have, they still won't be enough to meet all your investment needs. It needs other, complementary financing, especially when closer to market. The Commission's new Memorandum of Understanding with the European Investment Bank is a welcome step; but we also need any new suggestions you can give us: how can we develop further sources of private financing?

And fifth, we need the resources to sustain these essential industries; including human resources. Working with the private and education sectors, our Grand Coalition for Jobs and Growth aims to boost Europe's ICT skills – and our competitiveness. I hope you will all support this from your own sectors.

These elements all complement the other work we are doing to support KETs. For example, in Microelectronics I will soon launch an ambitious strategy to put Europe back in the game and make it punch at its real weight: by combining our resources, growing high-tech manufacturing, and bridging the gap between R&D and the market. To make an "airbus of chips" – or several – a reality.

For Photonics we are setting up a Public Private Partnership for Research and Innovation under Horizon 2020.

These elements, and your support, are essential for achieving our goals. Remember, you are our ambassadors to spread the word about KETs to national and regional authorities. I hope you will be active in doing so, so that they too embed KETs into their Research and Innovation programmes and growth strategies.

I wish you a very successful event.


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