Following the publication of the first EECA-ESIA European Semiconductor Industry: 2005 Competitiveness Report a high level meeting was held to highlight and discuss its findings. Europe’s Enterprise and Industry Commissioner, Günter Verheugen and the European Semiconductor Industry Association (ESIA) discussed the report and how the semiconductor industry in Europe can maintain and enhance its competitiveness. A delegation of ESIA members from STMicroelectronics, Infineon, Philips, Freescale Semiconductor, Micron and Robert Bosch, focused on key findings and how they link to the Commission’s initiatives to boost Europe’s competitiveness.

The report portrays a comprehensive picture of a sector, which is able to produce record growth rates, making substantial contributions to the development of the European economy, and to lead state-of-the-art technology innovation. It has created worldwide leading centres of excellence in various locations across Europe. With up to 20 percent of annual revenues re-invested in R&D, and furthermore up to 25 percent in capital expenditures, semiconductor companies are at the top of Europe’s innovation list. Despite a continuous rise of the Asia-Pacific region and declining total shares of other regions, Europe has been able to maintain a relative stable market share of around 20 percent.

ESIA proposes ten concrete measures to boost competitiveness. These include promoting a generalized tax credit system on R&D spending, adopting the Commission’s original R&D 7th framework proposals, reversing the European brain drain, promoting more and stronger multiple partnerships, establishing a sectoral framework, ensuring consistent and efficient customs operations, and pooling expertise in the EU and national institutions.

Carlo Bozotti, president of ESIA and CEO of STMicroelectronics, commented, “Semiconductors are the enabling technology for the Information Society, and their contribution to the success of the European economy is essential. The semiconductor industry in Europe has mobilized all its energy to face the challenges highlighted in the report. By communicating its call for action, ESIA hopes that the report will serve as a catalyst for implementing measures that reflect the real needs of our industry.”