For Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, the EU has no choice.

"If we want to be one of the leading forces in the markets of the future and not just be the subcontractor of whoever, the EU must act now," says the Frenchman in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper.

Then the EU would have to invest in its own large semiconductor factories, two, three or four.

"A Europe of mega-factories that can meet its own needs and at the same time conquer and export the world markets." Tuesday it will be concrete.

Then Breton wants to present the "EU Chips Act".

He is said to mobilize more than 45 billion euros to make the EU a heavyweight in chip production again.

Henrik Kafsack

Business correspondent in Brussels.

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Stephen Finsterbusch

Editor in Business.

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Semiconductors are a central building block of any modern economy.

Without them, neither cars nor e-bikes, neither cranes nor punching machines, neither vacuum cleaners nor lawn mowers work.

The tiny components keep entire industries and millions of households running.

By 2030, the EU should manufacture 20 percent of the chips in the world.

Breton and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced this goal last year.

This is an enormous challenge.

Today the share is 10 percent and the market will double by 2030.

Also, the EU should not produce just any chips, but ultra-modern ones with so-called structure sizes of 5, 3 and 2 nanometers or even less.

That's tens of thousands of times finer than a human hair.

In this way, the European Commission wants to ensure that enough semiconductors are manufactured in the EU for connected driving, Industry 4.0, smartphones, artificial intelligence and supercomputers.

"We cannot accept an international division of labor in which Europe supplies chips of more than 20 nanometers and America and Asia share the real future market with chips of less than 5 nanometers," says Breton.

For him it is a question of industrial power.

In order to achieve the goal, Breton plans nothing less than a turning point, the final step from the previously rather liberal model of the EU to the industrial policy of the French school.

The decisive factor here is not the money at all - even if it is important to Breton to match the $52 billion (44 billion euros) with which the US government wants to endow its "Chips Act" with a comparable sum.

But the EU member states have already reserved around 30 billion euros for the expansion of chip production.

Fresh money is only 12 billion euros for a program called "Chips for Europe", with which the EU is to promote pilot projects, quantum chips or chip design by 2030.

A 5 billion program with the European Investment Bank (EIB) is also intended to support start-ups.

Billions for Intel

Crucially, however, the Chips Act clears the way for state aid that would be unthinkable under the EU's previous state aid rules.

"This is something completely new, unprecedented, a law of its own alongside the law on state aid," says Breton.

According to the Commission, subsidies of 40 or 50 percent for the construction of new factories would no longer be a problem.

The EU enters the subsidy race with America and Asia to build new chip factories.

The world market leaders, Taiwan and South Korea, have been generously promoting the construction of new plants for decades.

China made the semiconductor industry a key industry in 2015 and wants to become the world market leader by 2030 with sums in the hundreds of billions.

Of the roughly two dozen chip fabs under construction around the world, eight are being built in China.

Above all, this has persuaded the USA to

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