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The US tech giant has breathed new life into talks with the Meloni government.

Last week Intel told Reuters that Italy remains a potential location for a new chip plant. The ongoing talks follow Intel’s decision last March to increase its semiconductor production in the European Union.

Intel said at that time that it planned to invest as much as €80 billion in Europe over the next decade. The Italian plant would be part of the program, which saw a giant Intel fab planned in Germany at its center.

Made in Italy

Intel explained that the Italian facility would be an advanced packaging and assembly plant. The purpose of the project is to use new technologies to weave together full chips out of tiles, according to Reuters.

“We continue to progress our discussions with Italy regarding a state-of-the-art back-end manufacturing facility”, Intel said in a statement, adding it remained “excited about the project”.

However, when Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger recently gave an interview with newspaper Il Corriere della Sera, he suggested that the project was still up in the air. Italy is only one of several potential countries being considered, he said, adding that a decision should be reached by the end of this year.

“Italy is still in play”, according to Gelsinger, “but so are other candidate countries… We will decide within the year”. The Intel chief added that he had spoken with Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Tuesday.

Previous government

Sources previously told Reuters that Meloni’s predecessor, Mario Draghi, had detailed a comprehensive agreement with Intel in early September to build the plant. The town of Vigasio near Verona in the northern Veneto region was the preferred location.

An official in Meloni’s administration told Reuters this month that Intel had started an in-depth assessment of planned investments in Germany, France and Italy.

The official said the Italians were concerned that massive subsidies being proffered by the US administration to support key industries could discourage Intel from investing in Italy.