European Commission Visits IMEC Facilities in Leuven

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European Commission Visits IMEC Facilities in Leuven

Strong & urgent actions needed for Europe’s semiconductor industry to remain a corner stone of Europe’s competitiveness & innovation

BRUSSELS, Belgium – 27 March 2009 – Today, representatives from several Directorate Generals of the European Commission visited the nanoelectronics research center IMEC. The initiative, organized by SEMI Europe and supported by ESIA was also attended by representatives from related industry associations and national government from France, Netherlands and the UK. IMEC, located 25 kilometers from Brussels, is one of the top-three European independent research centres in nanoelectronics and ranks among the very best world-wide.

“After several reports on Europe’s semiconductor competitiveness, it was logical to organize this tour to see hands-on how semiconductors are manufactured and how they are key to addressing our most pressing societal issues such as climate change and energy conservation” said Heinz Kundert, President of SEMI Europe. ESIA Director Martin Spät added that “… this is a great opportunity to break some of the technical jargon specific to any industry. We want to make our industry more accessible to those policy experts who play the pivotal role in providing the European framework the industry needs to restore and boost Europe’s competitiveness”.

The European share of semiconductor manufacturing capacity dropped 25% from 2005-2007. Today 75 percent of global investments in semiconductor manufacturing capacities are taking place in countries in Asia and USA; regions which continue to see semiconductors as a key enabling and strategic industry. Adds François Escher, co-chair of ESIA’s Competitiveness Task Force: “As part of a dedicated innovation led industrial policy, a globally competitive European industry needs effective measures in place along the four innovation pillars of R&D, lead markets, manufacturing and education. Europe is already on the right track in identifying and prioritizing today’s and tomorrow’s major societal needs.”

Semiconductors are the driving force for innovation in Europe's key industries such as telecom, automotive, aerospace, machine tools, defense, medical and more.

Dirk Beernaert of the European Commission’s Nanoelectronics division confirmed that “Strong actions from the EU, national governments and public authorities, together with the industry are urgently needed for the European semiconductor industry to remain a corner stone of Europe’s competitiveness and innovation”.

About SEMI

SEMI is the global industry association serving the manufacturing supply chains for the microelectronic, display and photovoltaic industries. SEMI member companies are the engine of the future, enabling smarter, faster and more economical products that improve our lives. Since 1970, SEMI has been committed to helping members grow more profitably, create new markets and meet common industry challenges. SEMI maintains offices in Austin, Bangalore, Beijing, Brussels, Hsinchu, Moscow, San Jose, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit


The European Semiconductor Industry Association (ESIA), part of the European Electronic Component manufacturer's Association (EECA), represents the European-based manufactures of semiconductor devices. The semiconductor industry provides the key enabling technologies at the forefront of the development of the digital economy. This sector supports around 115 000 jobs directly and up to 500 000 induced jobs in Europe, in a market valued at around EUR 26bn in 2008.

Association Contact:

SEMI Europe

40 Avenue des Arts
1040 Brussels, Belgium
Carlos Lee,
Tel: + 32 2 2896490


'Diamant' Building. Boulevard A. Reyers 80
1030 Brussels, Belgium
Martin Spät,
Tel: +32 2 7068600