Minister Serret, during her visit to the Infineon plant in Villach. | Photo: Infineon

This Friday, the Catalan Minister for Foreign Action and European Union, Meritxell Serret i Aleu, presented the Government’s strategy to position Catalonia as southern Europe’s leading semiconductor design hub. She did so at various strategic meetings in Villach, in the Austrian state of Carinthia, a region that in recent years has undergone strong development in technology, innovation and research. “We have identified real opportunities for cooperation and mutual benefit with Carinthia to contribute to the European digital sovereignty strategy,” explained Serret. This is an area in which Catalonia and the Austrian state are already collaborating, “working in an alliance of governments from different parts of Europe to contribute to the strategy to boost the development of semiconductors on a European scale”.

On the last day of Serret’s institutional trip to Slovenia and Austria this week, this morning’s agenda in Villach focused on strengthening relations with Carinthia in the field of business and technological innovation, as well as exchanging best practices in the production of semiconductors, an area in which the Government is working to position Catalonia as one of the most dynamic environments in Southern Europe for the design of these materials. According to the Minister, the visit to Villach has served to “build good relations and opportunities for our companies, but also to strengthen research centres and institutions.”

With these objectives in mind, and accompanied by the President of the Carinthian Parliament, Reinhard Rohr, Minister Serret visited the Infineon plant in Villach, one of the most important semiconductor manufacturing companies in the world and the second-largest microchip manufacturer in Europe, as well as the facilities of Villach Technology Park, which is home to more than 40 companies with 700 employees and a thousand students.

During her visit to Infineon, Serret talked with the company’s executives to explore opportunities to strengthen the Catalan semiconductor ecosystem. In this regard, Catalonia is already the territory best placed to become the base for developing the semiconductor industry in Southern Europe, as it has considerable assets such as the Barcelona Supercomputing Center – Centre Nacional de Supercomputació (BSCCNS) as well as a dynamic ecosystem of new technology-based start-ups and consolidated companies. Its position is also demonstrated by recent announcements on investment from Cisco, Monolithic Power Systems (MPS) and Intel, who have chosen Barcelona as the place to set up their microchip design centres.

The Government Delegate to Central Europe, Krystyna Schreiber, and two representatives from ACCIÓ accompanied Minister Serret on this morning’s visits.

Catalonia is well positioned to lead chip design in southern Europe

Throughout the various meetings, Minister Serret has highlighted the Government’s commitment to positioning Catalonia as a leading partner in strengthening technological and energy sovereignty in the European Union. Cooperation with other European territories is essential when it comes to joining forces to develop state-of-the-art technological solutions to ensure the success of the European digital transition and to strengthen Catalonia as a benchmark country in the process.

In fact, Catalonia and Carinthia already collaborate in this field, as they are among the 13 regions promoting a European semiconductor alliance. Under the name of the Alliance of European Semiconductor Regions, the initiative aims to boost the growth and competitiveness of the semiconductor industry in Europe by exchanging knowledge and best practices and through cooperation between regions.

A growing ecosystem

According to data from the study “Els semiconductors a Catalunya” (Semiconductors in Catalonia), there are 104 companies and research organisations working in semiconductors in Catalonia, with a total of 4,400 professionals. According to the ACCIÓ report, 81% of companies in the sector in Catalonia are SMEs (8% of which are start-ups), while 37% have an annual turnover of over 10 million euros. In this sense, the semiconductor industry is still developing in Catalonia, but it has significant prospects for growth.

35th Adifolk Aplec Internacional

This afternoon, Minister Meritxell Serret will bring her institutional trip to Austria to a close by taking part in the opening ceremony of the 35th Adifolk Aplec Internacional in Villach, a large international exhibition of Catalan popular culture that will be held from today until Sunday in this Austrian city.