Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner responsible for digital matters, used the opportunity of a keynote speech provided to the IMEC Technology Forum, held in Brussels last month, to ask whether Europe should consider the creation of an Airbus of chips.
The implication is clear even if the outcome is not.
indicating that it may be advantageous to combine the likes of
STMicroelectronics, Infineon Technologies AG, NXP Semiconductors NV and
others because manufacturing semiconductors is of a strategic interest
to Europe and too expensive at the leading edge for these companies to
pursue on their own.
"If we are really going to succeed and throw
our weight on the world stage, we need even more to work together, and
act together at a European level," the text of Kroes' speech said.
acknowledged in the text of her speech: "But the Commission can't bring
this about on its own. We can take the lead and start the talks – but
we need others to commit, too. Commit financially: and commit to doing
things differently. So I need to know, how far are member states, the
research community, and industry prepared to work towards this goal?"
question is really whether the European Commission can turn the
sovereign debt crisis that is washing over the continent right now into a
spur for strategic spending and intervention, using the argument that
difficult times require radical measures. The alternative is that a
break-up of the euro financial zone and the internal tensions it exposes
will prove so overwhelming a distraction that it will be a stimulus for
nothing but lethargy, weakness and continued decline.
Anything to do with industry appears to be waning in the western world, primarily because the cost of making things has risen quite high, while being relatively cheap in developing nations. I think things will make a u turn as other parts of the world begin to become more wealthy.
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The main reason is there's not much difference in pay these days. The good side of living in EU is that you'll get healthcare free (in many countries you just have to be a resident to get public services) and 20 days paid holidays (plus paid bank-holidays like here in Ireland, around 7 of them in the year). Also the attitude towards work is way more relaxed here - your boss wants to go for a pint in the evening too, so no late work.
Germany seems to be always winning with mechanical engineering technology.This i am watching from my child hood till now nearly for about 40 years. I suggest that they go into further doing research, development and manufacturing involving machines.What about humanoid robots?
ST, Infineon, et al certainly got lots of taxpayer help in Europe and yet are "too small in themselves" in spite of all that help. Merging them and giving wider European support may be only thing that will keep them alive.
But nanoelectronics will not come out of the legacy microelectronics companies, in my opinion, just a diode makers failed to become transistor makers who then failed to become IC makers. I vote to the IMEC R/D approach.
Many European engineers do migrate to the United States but I think the opportunities are far less than they were during the famous brain-drain time of the 1960s.
This is partly because those U.S. companies have themselves become globalized.
Why European engineers want to stay in Europe? Because, ever since the 1960s or 1970s, the standard of living in Europe has rivaled that of the US. Life is a balance of work and other activities, and what Europe offers is not easy to give up.
Yes, the pay might still be better in the US, and the professional aspects of the job are too, in my opinion. But that's not all there is to life, either.
Of course, as the news programs make painfully clear these days, that equation might be changing. Globalization is here to stay, and the Euro-socialist policies are catching up with them. We can only hope the US doesn't continue to head down that path too.
I often wonder why European Engineers do not want to come to the US for the many job opportunities in this country. There are lots of jobs for qualified engineers here. I have the sense that they prefer to remain within Europe and want the jobs to be created in the continent. Is there any over-riding reason. The jobs pay much better in the USA and the work is largely the same or better.