(Source: European Commission)
Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has been a wake-up call on many fronts, including the need for the European Union to cater for its own security and prosperity.
Remaining an industrial powerhouse is more vital than ever, by leading an unprecedented transformation – an industrial revolution – and by ensuring that we are a strong and credible global player.
The future of European industry: data, cloud and chips
In July 2020, I addressed Hanover Messe with the message “The real industrial revolution is starting now – provided we make the right investments in key digital technologies”.
Almost two years on, we have made formidable progress to up our game in three essential levers: data, cloud and chips.
Big data, first. It is the new fuel that will power tomorrow’s industry, benefiting businesses, consumers, public services and society as a whole. But for this to happen, Europe needs to grow stronger in sharing and exploiting industrial data.
That is the objective of the legislative proposals on data, and of our work to promote common European data spaces.
They will allow companies to safely share, store and process data, including deep industrial data, in full respect of European rules.
Secondly, cloud. Levelling up our data capacity means matching it with the right infrastructure, including cloud infrastructure.
German authorities have understood this very well. Together with France and the support of ten other Member States, they pre-notified in April a new Important Project of Common European Interest that will lay the foundations for a first-in-a-kind sustainable and secure Cloud-to-Edge continuum.
A third essential enabler: semiconductors. Without chips, no digital transition, no green transition, no technological leadership.
Our objectives are ambitious: doubling our global market share by 2030 to 20%, and producing the most sophisticated and energy-efficient semiconductors in Europe.
With the EU Chips Act we will strengthen our research excellence and help it move from lab to fab. We are mobilising considerable public funding which is already attracting substantial private investment. And we are putting everything in place to secure the entire supply chain and avoid future shocks to our economy.
Speaking of shocks to our economy – the Commission just adopted REPowerEU to address the energy crisis while phasing out as soon as possible imports of Russian fossil fuels.
To succeed, beyond diversifying gas import sources and increasing energy savings, we must accompany the emergence of clean technology industrial supply chains. For solar, hydrogen, wind and even nuclear.
Because we can’t afford replacing one dependency by another. So we need secure supply chains, starting with critical raw materials, for which we will intensify work and prepare a legislative proposal.
Needless to say, ladies and gentlemen, that our task is Herculean.
But when I see what we have achieved over the past two years, I am confident that Europe has what it takes to go the distance.