The Council of Ministers has approved the PERTE for semiconductors, a plan to which it will allocate more than 12,250 million euros, the highest to date in a project of these characteristics and 1,000 million more than initially planned. The amount, which represents a third of the total investment of the 10 PERTE presented, will be used to turn Spain into a global player in this sector.
Isabel Rodríguez, Minister for Territorial Policy and Government spokesperson, explained that Pedro Sánchez was not present at the Council precisely because he was in Davos defending this plan.
For her part, the Minister of Economy, Nadia Calviño, described this project as “the most ambitious of the Recovery Plan”, both for the amount allocated and “for its transformative impact” and for “its contribution to strategic autonomy in technological matters of Spain and the European Union as a whole”. “Spain has the talent”, explained the minister, but until now she has not been present in the sector due to the lack of support, commitment, vision and a coherent strategy with the necessary resources.
The objective of PERTE, Calviño added, is “to comprehensively develop the design and production capabilities of the Spanish microelectronics and semiconductor industry.” The Government hopes that it will cover the entire value chain – “from the design to the manufacture of the chips”, the minister pointed out – and that it will generate “a significant multiplier effect” not only in the technology sector, but in the economy as a whole. .
The semiconductor, Calviño recalled, is the basic element of processors or chips, so they are “essential for digital transformation.” And the current supply crisis makes it more difficult to produce technological products due to the shortage of these components. These bottlenecks can even stop production in other sectors and this is what the Government and the EU want to avoid.
In this context, Europe’s “modest” role with “great manufacturing weaknesses” in the sector (it represents 10% of world manufacturing and the goal is to double that percentage) entails a “geostrategic dependence”, of “a small number of producers that are concentrated in a few geographic areas,” mainly in East Asia and the United States.
The bulk of the public investment (9,350 million euros) will be directed to building the manufacturing plants necessary to create these semiconductors, both cutting-edge (below five nanometers) and mid-range (above this size). In addition, an investment of 1,165 million euros is planned for the 2022-2027 period to strengthen scientific capacity, another 1,330 million to enhance Spanish capacity in the design of these components and an additional 200 million to boost the ICT manufacturing industry , with the creation of a capital fund to finance innovative startups and SMEs.
The main source of funding for PERTE will come “from the addendum to the Recovery Plan” that the Executive plans to present in the second half of the year and will resort to both “possible additional non-reimbursable transfers” and reimbursable loans, which have not yet been mobilized.
In any case, Calviño stressed that it is a “long-term” project that will advance “in phases” and will prioritize the areas in which Spain is best placed. He also recognized the need for public-private collaboration. The leadership of the project will fall to a special commissioner led by Jaime Martorell Suárez.
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