Reaching breaking point: The semiconductor and critical raw material ecosystem at a time of great power rivalry

Cover photo: © HCSS
Cover photo: © HCSS

This report covers new ground by specifically outlining pending disruptions in CRM value chains on which the EU relies for its access to semiconductors in the next five and ten years. The report also highlights key green technologies that rely on the same CRM value chains, as disruptions to these chains will also inhibit the energy transition. By doing so, an action plan is proposed for the Netherlands and the EU to deal with the risks and opportunities associated with the dependencies on the CRM needed for semiconductor production and green technologies. The action plan also outlines options to seize the opportunities related to the strengths of the Netherlands, the European Union and other technologically advanced democracies in the semiconductor value chain.  

The report relies on a literature review, desk research, prior research, stakeholder interviews, and expert interviews with both regional and thematic experts from academia, think tanks, government, and the CRM and semiconductor industry. Ten threats that may well disrupt the supply of CRM to Europe or its partners in semiconductor manufacturing (e.g., Taiwan) in both the next five and ten years were identified. Ranking of the threats (probability impact) was done on the basis of a foresight survey in which 49 experts participated. The formulation of the policy implications, opportunities, and recommendations relies on the findings of the previous chapters, additional desk research, and a global expert consultation with representatives from academia, think tanks, government and both the CRM and semiconductor industry from the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, and European states. 

Authors: Joris Teer and Mattia Bertolini 

Contributors Survey Outcome: Saskia Heyster, Jeff Amrish Ritoe, Tim Sweijs and Jack Thompson

Contributors Report: Jeff Amrish Ritoe, Saskia Heyster, Tim Sweijs, Rob de Wijk, Michel Rademaker, Martijn Vlaskamp, Irina Patrahau, Jack Thompson, Stella Kim, Raffaele Minicozzi, Adam Meszaros, Giovanni Cisco, and Michal Gorecki.


The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies

HCSS conducts research and provides advice on geopolitical and defence & security issues to governments, international institutions and businesses. Our research is characterized by a datadriven, multidisciplinary approach, specialist knowledge and a strategic orientation. We combine broad, conceptual knowledge with qualitative and quantitative methods and present our findings in the form of recommendations, strategic explorations and scenario analyses