Europe Must Close Gap on Semiconductors, Italy’s Colao Warns

(Bloomberg) — Europe must develop its self-sufficiency in technologies including semiconductors to build a more internationally competitive economy, a member of Mario Draghi’s government urged.

“It is crucial to use EU recovery funds to re-establish significant self-sufficiency on technology,” Vittorio Colao, Italy’s minister for technological innovation said Saturday at the Ambrosetti forum in Cernobbio. “Our future cannot completely depend on others.” 

For example, Europe needs to make more progress in areas like device capacity, he said. “On semiconductors and chips, Europe is strong on 28 to 30 nanometers, but Teslas work on 7 to 8 nanometers and many other things 4 to 5.”

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Colao, who served as chief executive officer of Vodafone Group Plc for a decade, is leading Italy’s efforts to roll out broadband and 5G connectivity across the country. Asked whether China’s Huawei should be a key partner in the process, Colao said the role of the government is to set out rules based on the protection of sovereignty. 

“Specific strategic needs of a country in the context of European legislation” should be addressed, Colao said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

The minister said investment in Italian and European technological capacity should include satellites, cloud computing and biotechnologies.

“We have a great opportunity: to make Europe a fertile ground to create a new European giant-tech.” 

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