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European Commission

[Check Against Delivery]

Neelie KROES

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

Chips with everything

Launch of a new partnership for European leadership in electronics

Brussels, 9 July 2014

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We are here to talk about our innovation and investment package. Seven new initiatives. Seven new ways of working together. Seven new ways to support the sectors and ideas that matter. 

Electronics is a great example.

A great example of a sector to strategically support.

Supporting so many innovations today. You are probably aware of the computer on your desk and the phone in your pocket. But soon: connected cars, connected classrooms, connected communities. Even healthcare at home. These are all challenges our society can fix using chips, worth a big boost to our economy. 

And they are all sectors where we can excel with the right electronics leadership. These innovations boost competitiveness and innovation everywhere. 

And electronics is also a great example of where we can benefit by working together. 

If you're making a car or health device: you need a whole ecosystem around you to succeed. So we need to connect all parts of the value chain – from digital components to demand markets. 

And we need to cooperate across Europe. Research costs are high, there is fierce competition, and technology is moving fast. Without global scale, without pooling our efforts and pointing in the same direction: we will be worth nothing on the world stage.

And we can cooperate between public and private players.

In 2013, we put forward a new Public-Private Partnership for electronic components and systems. To stimulate this strategic sector that serves our whole economy. 

Today, almost exactly one year later, it is launching its first calls for proposals. That's fast work. Congratulations to all of you for the hard work which made that possible.

In spite of the successes of our previous joint undertakings, ENIAC and ARTEMIS, I know there is a lot we can achieve bringing them closer together, with less fragmentation and duplication. 

So now we have a new PPP, known as ECSEL, to replace and succeed them. This is a 'one-stop shop' for European electronics, with commitment, cooperation and common purpose. Combining resources to become a global player. 

Fully 26 member states are now involved in this partnership between Member States, the EU and industry; many regions are willing to co-fund too. Great news. 

Over 1 billion in EU money will be matched and amplified by member state and private funds to make your tax euros work more effectively. And at five billion euros, it is the EU's largest such partnership.

Of course the partnership is not the only string to our bow. We have modernised our State Aid rules, like by doubling notification thresholds. So you can launch significant projects without delay or uncertainty – supporting this key sector without damaging competitiveness. 

And there are many opportunities out there for member states. The Joint Undertaking itself can implement national contributions - so a single proposal can lead to a single project. Building trust and reliance.

Pilot lines are another example. Under ENIAC and ARTEMIS, we had 16 pilot lines, investing almost 2 bn. This worked, showing we can cross the bridge to manufacturing. Now I'd like to see some industry proposals for more of those. 

And last September, I set up the Electronics Leaders Group. 11 CEOs from the largest European electronics companies setting out how to double the value of semiconductor production in Europe by 2020. They have worked for 9 months, delivering a strategic roadmap and, last week, a concrete implementation plan. Let's go for it.

Of course electronics is just one part of today's package. But these ideas do not exist in isolation. Whatever you're looking for – whether it's better aircraft, better healthcare, or cleaner energy –electronics can help. I hope we manage to take advantage of these synergies, and see their ambitions merge. 

Across Europe politicians are talking about how we can rebuild our global competitiveness, ensure great jobs for our people, and innovate to face a brighter future. And we've been talking about industrial policy for years. Now, the opportunities are there and the framework is in place. Now we need your creativity and energy for Europe to lead the world and benefit from these amazing developments. Propose, pursue, perform. And let's see Europe excel and lead. 

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