The European Commission has authorised, under the EC Treaty’s rules on state aid, €33 million of public funding for a research and development project by Philips Semiconductors at its facility in Caen. The project is aimed at developing a new, innovative technology designed to meet the needs of high-frequency wave communications markets. As all the requirements of the Community framework for state aid for research and development are satisfied, the Commission considers that the aid does not threaten to distort competition in the single market and is therefore compatible with the EC Treaty (Article 87).
EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: “I am happy to approve aid which promotes innovation and helps to create jobs, especially if it also supports the Commission’s regional development policy”.
The project, which will be spread over five years (2004-08), is aimed at integrating components, both passive and active, on a silicium substrate.
The public support for the project is intended to reduce the risk linked to this type of work and to assist the development of microelectronics in Lower Normandy through Philips and its local partners, subcontractors and laboratories. Emphasis is also placed on strengthening links between industry, research and higher education in this field.
According to information supplied by the French authorities, a hundred or so research jobs will be created within the company. At the same time, the public funding will make it possible to safeguard a further 210 jobs which would otherwise have been lost following a fire which destroyed the Caen facility’s production line in December 2003.
The aid will be paid in the form of grants by the Ministry for Economic Affairs, Finance and Industry, the Delegation for Territorial Planning and Regional Action, the Lower Normandy Regional Council, the Calvados General Council and the Caen la Mer Municipal Council. The project will receive additional funding from the ERDF.
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