The European Committee of the Regions, in collaboration with the Free State of Saxony, has introduced the European Semiconductor Regions Alliance (ESRA), a political network of regions committed to strengthening Europe’s semiconductor and microelectronics production capabilities.
ESRA’s mission is to identify and eliminate obstacles to the industry’s growth by enhancing the legal framework, promoting investment, fostering knowledge sharing, and establishing resilient value chains.
The global semiconductor shortage has revealed the EU’s reliance on a limited number of suppliers, leaving it vulnerable to export restrictions and geopolitical disruptions. Currently, the EU holds only a 10% share of the global semiconductor market by value, well below its economic influence.
To support the expansion and diversification of the European chip sector, 27 regions from 12 Member States have united to form ESRA, aiming to share expertise and enhance Europe’s competitiveness in global competition against the US and China.
Michael Kretschmer, Minister President of the Free State of Saxony, emphasized the importance of ESRA, stating that it opens new avenues for regional collaboration, research, and innovation to ensure Europe’s economic and digital sovereignty.
The 10-point paper signed by ESRA regions calls for long-term funding within the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework to increase semiconductor production and competitive conditions. They also urge the European Commission to interpret the “uniqueness” criterion broadly for state aid in the semiconductor industry and to develop sustainable semiconductor production under the European Green Deal.
ESRA plans to expand research and development, foster collaboration among research institutions, and promote “Made in Europe” technologies. Ensuring adequate water and energy supply, as well as access to strategic raw materials, is a priority. The Alliance warns that an EU ban on specific chemicals would threaten the semiconductor industry’s existence.
The semiconductor industry is viewed as a vital economic driver with the potential to transform local economies. National governments are urged to recognize its economic potential and provide essential support to develop a strong and integrated value chain.
Jan Jambon, Minister President of Flanders, emphasized the importance of collaboration between knowledge institutions, industrial players, and regional policymakers for innovation and development.
ESRA comprises 27 regions from 12 Member States, including Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Belgium, France, Italy, Finland, the Czech Republic, the UK, and Ireland. The European Commission introduced the European Chips Act in February 2022, aiming to increase Europe’s global chip manufacturing market share from 10% to up to 20% by 2030. Cities and regions play a crucial role in strengthening the European semiconductor industry by supporting research, development, and local manufacturing facilities.