Member countries of the European Union need to enhance their technological abilities and aggressively push for development in the areas such as manufacturing of catteries for electric cars and in cloud computing – believes the German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
in an interview with the Financial Times, Merkel said that European companies should be capable enough to be able to aggressively take on tech companies in the United States and Asia. Merkel is currently serving her fourth and last term as the economic manufacturing powerhouse.
“I believe that chips should be manufactured in the European Union, that Europe should have its own hyperscalers and that it should be possible to produce battery cells,” she told the newspaper.
It has been years that a globally leading tech company has been created by the European Union. While there is an absence of strategic support to tech companies from governments as in Asia, there is also no innovation hub of the scale of Silicon Valley.
Currently batter makers from South Korea and China are the only sources for electric vehicle makers of Germany to power new electric vehicles produced. There are efforts to reverse that trend, such as the setting up of a battery factory in Germany by Volkswagen in partnering with Sweden’s Northvolt. However that factory will not start production until 2023 at the earliest.
On the other hand, the chip making industry is dominated by US and Asian companies. Further there are no hyperscalers in Europe – which are companies that provide the internet infrastructure that are the backbone for huge platforms such as Google, Facebook and Amazon.
The comments by Merkel about the need for Europe, including Germany, should become more technologically capable has the potential to open the door to the manner in which French President Emmanuel Macron has been advocating pursuing an industrial strategy.
One of the major industrial strategies of Macron is to provide fillip and protection to European companies that exhibit potential to give tough competition to foreign rival companies. One successful example is that of Boring – the European plane maker that has manufacturing facilities across the EU, which competes strongly with its United States-based rival Boeing.
However the road map followed by US President Donald Trump is not the one that Merkel wants to follow even though she gave a call for greater regional innovation and competitiveness. The path taken by Trump is to boost American interests through a confrontationist path with China over trade as well as protection of intellectual property and by opposing China’s support for state-run enterprises.
“Do we in Germany and Europe want to dismantle all interconnected global supply chains . . . because of this economic competition?” She added: “In my opinion, complete isolation from China cannot be the answer,” Merkel said in the interview.
There should be enough confidence in Europe to set the global standards, said Merkel in the interview. She brought out the examples of the GDPR rules that are most stringent ever aimed at protection of personal data and one that can be replicated by countries all over the world.
“I firmly believe that personal data does not belong to the state or to companies,” she said. “It must be ensured that the individual has sovereignty over their own data and can decide with whom and for what purpose they share it.”
(Adapted from CNN.com)