Romania chips are competing for battery sites as the global crisis deepens.

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Romania wants to host manufacturing sites for electric vehicle batteries and semiconductors in the near future to lure investors fighting the Snerld supply chain through access to its mineral resources and EU funds, said Economy Minister Florin Spataru.

The government is in talks with many foreign investors who are planning to build new battery factories in Eastern Europe. Romania, whose less developed transport infrastructure could be unbalanced by higher energy independence and access to rare earth metals used in batteries, is a suitable place, Spataru said in an interview.

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“We are in close contact with a number of investors and we support them in finding the best options and potential locations for them,” he said in Bucharest on Thursday. “I’m sure Romania will be on the map with an electric battery plant.” He declined to give further details.

The Covid-19 shutdown in China and Russia’s war against Ukraine have led to supply chain shutdowns, prompting major carmakers to search for battery plant locations for new sites, and countries have made new promises to free themselves from fossil fuels, including a plan to switch to electric vehicles.

The Eastern European Union countries, which at the turn of the century lured foreign-owned car plants with their low cost, educated workers and heavy industry history, are now competing for battery manufacturing sites that will be important for mass production of EVs.

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Volkswagen AG recently selected Spain for a 7 billion euro (7 7.7 billion) battery plant, but still wants to add more manufacturing units across Europe as part of plans to invest around 52 billion euros over the next five years.

According to Spataru, Romania plans to use 500 million euros in EU funds to support research, innovation and production for microchips. It will also ask Brussels for help in reopening copper, tin and bauxite-containing mothballs.

“For many years, Romania has not responded to this pressure for change, but at the moment we have a strong government and a strong alliance that is determined to transform the economy and our industry,” Spataru said.

He added that Romania is waiting to host at least 20 companies that are currently exploring markets for possible relocations from Russia or Ukraine due to the war.

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