The European Chips Act

The European Chips Act, Preamble 1 to 10, Proposal of February 2022

European Chips Act, Preamble 1 to 10

(1) Semiconductors are at the core of any digital device: from smartphones and cars, through critical applications and infrastructures in health, energy, communications and automation to most other industry sectors. While semiconductors are essential to the functioning of our modem economy and society, the Union has witnessed unprecedented disruptions in their supply. The current supply shortage is a symptom of permanent and serious structural deficiencies in the Union's semiconductor value and supply chain. The disruptions have exposed long-lasting vulnerabilities in this respect, notably a strong third-country dependency in manufacturing and design of chips.

(2) A framework for increasing the Union's resilience in the field of semiconductor technologies should be established, stimulating investment, strengthening the capabilities of the Union's semiconductor supply chain, and increasing cooperation among the Member States and the Commission.

(3) This framework pursues two objectives. The first objective is to ensure the conditions necessary for the competitiveness and innovation capacity of the Union and to ensure the adjustment of the industry to structural changes due to fast innovation cycles and the need for sustainability. The second objective, separate and complementary to the first one, is to improve the functioning of the internal market by laying down a uniform Union legal framework for increasing the Union's resilience and security of supply in the field of semiconductor technologies.

(4) It is necessary to take measures to build capacity and strengthen the Union's semiconductor sector in line with Article 173(3) of the Treaty. These measures do not entail the harmonisation of national laws and regulations. In this regard, the Union should reinforce the competitiveness and resilience of the semiconductor technological and industrial base, whilst strengthening the innovation capacity of its semiconductor sector, reducing dependence on a limited number of third country companies and geographies, and strengthening its capacity to design and produce advanced components. The Chips for Europe Initiative (the 'Initiative') should support these aims by bridging the gap between Europe's advanced research and innovation capabilities and their sustainable industrial exploitation. It should promote capacity building to enable design, production and systems integration in next generation semiconductor technologies, enhance collaboration among key players across the Union, strengthening Europe's semiconductor supply and value chains, serving key industrial sectors and creating new markets.

(5) The use of semiconductors is critical for multiple economic sectors and societal functions in the Union and therefore, a resilient supply is essential for the functioning of the internal market. Given the wide circulation of semiconductor products across borders, the resilience and security of supply of semiconductors can be best addressed through Union harmonising legislation based on Article 114 of the Treaty. With a view to enabling coordinated measures for building resilience, harmonised rules for facilitating the implementation of specific projects that contribute to the security of supply of semiconductors in the Union are necessary. The proposed monitoring and crisis response mechanism should be uniform to enable a coordinated approach to crisis preparedness for the cross-border semiconductor value chain.

(6) The achievement of these objectives will be supported by a governance mechanism. At Union level, this Regulation establishes a European Semiconductor Board, composed of representatives of the Member States and chaired by the Commission. The European Semiconductor Board will provide advice to and assist the Commission on specific questions, including the consistent application of this Regulation, facilitating cooperation among Member States and exchanging information on issues relating to this Regulation. The European Semiconductor Board should hold separate meetings for its tasks under the different chapters of this Regulation. The different meetings may include different compositions of the high-level representatives and the Commission may establish subgroups.

(7) Given the globalised nature of the semiconductor supply chain, international cooperation with third countries is an important element to achieve a resilience of the Union's semiconductor ecosystem. The actions taken under this Regulation should also enable the Union to play a stronger role, as a centre of excellence, in a better functioning global, interdependent semiconductors ecosystem. The Commission, assisted by the European Semiconductor Board, should cooperate and build partnerships with third countries with a view to seeking solutions to address, to the extent possible, disruptions of the semiconductor supply chain.

(8) The semiconductor sector is characterised by very high development and innovation costs and very high costs for building state of the art testing and experimentation facilities to support the industrial production. This has direct impact on the competitiveness and innovation capacity of the Union industry, as well as on the security and resilience of the supply. In light of the lessons learnt from recent shortages in the Union and worldwide and the rapid evolution of technology challenges and innovation cycles affecting the semiconductor value chain, it is necessary to strengthen the Union's competitiveness, resilience and innovation capacity by setting up the Initiative.

(9) Member States are primarily responsible for sustaining a strong Union industrial, competitive, sustainable and innovative base. However, the nature and scale of the innovation challenge in the semiconductor sector requires action to be taken collaboratively at Union level.

(10) The Horizon Europe Framework programme established by Regulation (EU) 2021/695 of the European Parliament and of the Council (Horizon Europe) - the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, has the objective to strengthen the European research area (ERA), encouraging it to become more competitive, including in its industry, while promoting all research and innovation (R&I) activities to deliver on the Union's strategic priorities and commitments, which ultimately aim to promote peace, the Union's values and the well-being of its peoples. As a major priority of the Union, the total financial resources allocated to the programme should not be reduced and the reduction of the financial resources of the programme, aimed to reinforce the financial envelope of the Digital Europe programme with the aim of contributing to the Chips initiative, should be compensated by another source. Consequently, without prejudice to the institutional prerogatives of the European Parliament and of the Council, an amount of commitment appropriations equivalent to the reduction should be made available to Horizon Europe over the period 2023-2027, resulting from total or partial non-implementation of projects belonging to that programme or its predecessor, as provided for in Article 15(3) of Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council (the Financial Regulation). This amount will be in addition to the EUR 0.5 billion (in 2018 prices) already mentioned in the Joint Declaration by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on the reuse of decommitted funds in relation to the research programme.

Note: This is not the final text of the European Chips Act. This is the text of the European Chips Act Proposal of February 2022.