Press Release

European space policy will take off before the end of 2005

By SpaceRef Editor
June 7, 2005
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European space policy will take off before the end of 2005

The second European “Space Council” was held today in Luxembourg. Ministers from the European Union (EU) and/or Space Agency (ESA) Member States encouraged the Commission to complete its proposal for a European space policy and programme due to be approved at a third Space Council meeting planned for the end of November 2005. For the first time, there has been a consensus of 29 European countries on a new European approach in the space sector. The roles of the different actors have been clarified, leading to a better use of existing resources. The Commission has proposed uniting resources in Europe with the objective of making the EU a key player in the space sector. (See IP/05/593 and MEMO/05/167).

Commission Vice President Günter Verheugen stated: “I am grateful for the full support the Space Council has given the Commission today. We will now work full speed ahead and complete our proposal for a European space policy and programme. This will identify programme priorities for future European development of space applications.”

ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain added: “ESA has just turned 30. Thanks to the continuous support of its Member States, it has grown to make the European space sector one of the foremost competitors in the world and at the same time has become a respected partner. Now the European space policy is being integrated within the wider ambitions of Europe and space is set to become a much larger and more integrated undertaking in our future. ESA is prepared to adapt in order to take on an even greater role for Europe.”

The Galileo navigation satellite programme and the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme are identified as ‘flagship’ activities for the European Space Policy. Funding of space activities is already incorporated in the Commission proposal for the 7th Framework Programme of research and development.

An important element for the Member States will be to decide the extent to which they either direct their national initiatives towards an enhanced European programme of space activities or continue to fund activities at national level. A key element will be the inclusion in the European Space Programme of space systems to support security objectives.

EU Member States will also have to ensure that the ambitions of the space programme are taken into account in the next Financial Perspectives.

More information

SpaceRef staff editor.