EU proposes $32B investment in flagging hardware, tech industries

Summary:Europe wants to "reverse the decline of the EU’s global share in the electronic components and systems area." And by doing that, it's throwing billions of euros at the problem.

The European Union is taking its electronics, hardware and technology industries seriously. And by that, this flailing sector that needs a hundred volts pumped into its chest with a hearty cash injection.

A new investment package worth €25 billion ($32bn) will aid the flagging economy over the next seven years, the European Commission announced on Wednesday, in a bid to drive more innovation to the design, developing and manufacturing electronics sectors, including new areas such as nanoelectronics.

There is method to its madness. The executive body said that every economic sector in the 28 member state bloc will benefit — from cars to planes and trains, medical and health equipment, home appliances, energy networks, and security systems — from state-of-the-art developed electronic components and systems manufactured on the continent.

The Electronic Components and Systems for European Leadership (ECSEL) will begin in early-2014 and run for a decade, with the help of academics, technology organizations, and large and small companies alike.

It is designed to reverse the decline in the EU's global electronic components share, bring innovations in novel areas such as cyber physicals systems, and to develop a strategic research and innovation agenda, the EU said.

The various strands of the ECSEL's approach comes at a time where it aims to help startups take advantage of the open and competitive market place, while other well-established companies are slowly sinking. There's no doubt that in recent months and years, the Raspberry Pi's and the Jolla's, and various new technological strands have helped boost the local economies. But how these will benefit — or hit, who knows — at this stage remains unclear.

The first injection of investment will start with a budget of €4.8 billion ($6bn). The EU will contribute up to €1.2 billion ($1.53bn) which will be matched by member state contributions.

Topics: EU


Zack Whittaker is a writer-editor for ZDNet, and sister sites CNET and CBS News. He is based in the New York newsroom. His PGP key is: EB6CEEA5.

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