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ASML’s impending departure from the Netherlands led to a crisis consultation between the company and Prime Minister Mark Rutte. The consultations reassured ASML enough to keep its main activities in the Netherlands. However, there are still problems regarding the company’s growth that urgently need to be resolved.

Yesterday, it was made public that the outgoing Dutch administration is secretly working on a strategy to keep ASML in the Netherlands. Later that same day, an emergency consultation took place between Mark Rutte and the chip machine maker. At least during the consultation, it was already made clear that ASML will remain in the Netherlands. Reuters reports.

Problems for growth strategy ASML

However, no solution appears to have been found for the problems surrounding ASML’s growth strategy. Growth is needed to keep up with the ever-increasing demand for chips. ASML says it needs to at least double capacity over a 10-year period.

“There is a significant gap between industry concerns, and what we think is needed, and what politicians think,” ASML CEO Peter Wennink stated after the consultation. He said the company may well implement growth plans abroad. Wennink let that depend on the Dutch cabinet’s view of the problems.

The problems are partly related to attracting foreign talent, which the Dutch cabinet may make more difficult if there is an effective brake on labour migration. The company is also struggling to obtain building permits, with restrictions on the Dutch electricity grid, import and export for transportation being difficult to arrange, and it cannot guarantee that there will be enough hospitals, schools, and housing to accommodate a doubled workforce.

Part of the problem the Netherlands hopes to solve in cooperation with other EU member states. This specifically concerns export restrictions. The government would like to see these better coordinated with other EU member states.

Also read: ASML turmoil drives Netherlands to better EU coordination on exports

Problems may escalate

However, many of the problems raised by ASML manifest entirely in the Netherlands. The administration will have to find a solution on its own. That won’t be easy, as the right-wing Geert Wilders won the last election. He mainly goes to war against migrants. For now, he has not managed to form a majority to replace the current outgoing administration.

However, it already looks like Wilders will further strengthen the problems of attracting foreign talent. The first legislative changes are proof enough of that. For example, universities may introduce a restriction on the number of foreign students admitted to Dutch universities, and the tax benefits companies receive for skilled migrant workers will disappear. The measure would hit the chip maker hard, as 40 percent of ASML’s employees do not have Dutch citizenship.