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European international locations should work collectively on next-generation chip manufacturing, Angela Merkel mentioned, drawing on her 16 years of expertise within the highest workplace to warn that no European nation might keep on the forefront of high-tech by itself, write Andreas Rinke and Thomas Escritt.

The outgoing German chancellor advised Reuters in an interview that the prices of shifting to the following stage in areas from chip growth to cloud and quantum computing and battery manufacturing meant that the non-public sector would wish state help.

Merkel herself carried out basic analysis in quantum chemistry in East Germany earlier than coming into politics after German reunification in 1990. She pointed to Korea, Taiwan and U.S. President Joe Biden’s stimulus bundle as examples of what was attainable.


“The state should play a major function. South Korea and Taiwan go to indicate that aggressive chip manufacturing within the 3- or 2-nanometer vary, for instance, is basically unattainable with out state subsidies,” she mentioned.

The worldwide financial system’s present wrestle to revive provide chains snapped by useful resource shortages and the coronavirus pandemic additional highlights the necessity to make sure that Europe has its personal manufacturing services in key areas, she mentioned.

However she additionally lamented the failure of German firms to capitalise on an impressive analysis base.


Particularly, she mentioned she was “shocked” at German firms’ lack of curiosity in quantum computing, regardless that Germany was a world chief in analysis in a area that might make computer systems sooner and extra highly effective than ever earlier than.


She mentioned her authorities had made steps in the direction of bettering Germany’s innovation and start-up cultures, pointing to a German-led mission to create a safe and environment friendly cloud information infrastructure for Europe, named Gaia-X.

“However in the long run it can’t be the state that drives new developments,” the European Union’s longest-serving chief mentioned.

Germany’s sprawling, decentralised authorities construction is also a hindrance to innovation.

Merkel mentioned the presence of an ethics council and information safety officer in every of the 16 federal states put a heavy burden on companies in life sciences, as an illustration, the place Germany had fallen behind.

It was, nonetheless, at the vanguard of analysis in areas akin to quantum physics, local weather analysis, physics, chemistry and robotics, she mentioned.

Not that the identical may very well be mentioned for Merkel’s personal use of house expertise.

“I’m comfortable sufficient after I can arrange a delayed begin on my washer, however past that, to be sincere, I’ve neither the time nor the inclination to have my entire house remote-controlled,” she mentioned.

“Perhaps I’ll develop an curiosity when I’ve extra time within the close to future.”

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