EU and South Korea team up to boost emerging technologies

3 Jul 2023

Thierry Breton, EU commissioner for the internal market. Image: NATO (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The two parties plan to advance key technologies and strengthen the economic resilience of the semiconductor sector.

The EU has strengthened its relations with South Korea to help develop multiple emerging technologies.

The first Digital Partnership council was recently held in Seoul, where the EU and South Korea agreed on key outcomes in sectors such as high-performance computing (HPC), semiconductors, quantum technology and AI.

The council was co-chaired by EU commissioner for the internal market Thierry Breton and South Korean minister for science Lee Jong-Ho. Breton said the council was a “significant milestone” in cooperating with a “strategic like-minded partner”.

“By joining forces, we are paving the way for remarkable progress in key digital and industrial domains, encompassing semiconductors, HPC, 6G, quantum and AI,” Breton said.

“This joint effort is set to empower our citizens and unlock tremendous prospects for our economies.”

One of the plans from the council is to establish a forum for semiconductor researchers, in a bid to promote research in complementary areas in this sector.

The two parties also plan to boost researcher access to HPC infrastructure and establish a quantum expert group to work on new standards in this field of research.

The EU and the Republic of Korea also plan to increase cooperation around AI by creating a “permanent dialogue”, where each side can share updates on initiatives for trustworthy AI.

Last month, EU lawmakers approved the AI Act, a long-awaited batch of rules to prohibit dangerous technology and monitor the application of artificial intelligence. The act has faced criticism however, as executives from some of Europe’s largest companies recently signed an open letter voicing their concerns over the AI Act.

Meanwhile, the EU is also working to strengthen its ties to Japan, particularly in the field of semiconductors, Reuters reports.

Breton told Reuters that the EU and Japan plan to work together to monitor the chip supply chain and exchange researchers and engineers.

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Thierry Breton, EU commissioner for the internal market. Image: NATO via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic