Press Release

Fourth European Interparlimentary Space Conference

By SpaceRef Editor
November 19, 2002
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The IVth European Interparliamentary Space Conference met in London from 12th –
14th November 2002, under UK Presidency. Chaired by John McWilliam MP, the
Conference brought together Parliamentary Space Groups from Belgium, France,
Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK together with Parliamentary observers from
Switzerland and, for the first time, Greece and Russia and a delegation from the
WEU. The European Commission, the European Parliament, National Space
Agencies (including Norway and Canada) and other key space institutions were also
represented. The conference visited Astrium at its site at Stevenage, the leading
satellite manufacturing facility in the UK.

The conference highlighted the critical position of the space industry in Europe due to
the collapse of the commercial satellite telecommunications market on which it
heavily depends, and called for urgent attention to this situation through new
programmes, reorganisation of the industry, and sector restructuring.

In this context the conference confirmed its support for closer collaboration between
the European Commission and the European Space Agency, and welcomed the
tasking by the Commission of a Green Paper on space that will examine the strategic
value (political, military, economic, environmental, technological and cultural) of
space activities for Europe.

The Conference recognised that a coherent and ambitious space policy aims first and
foremost at autonomy for Europe and therefore implies control over the key elements
of the supply chain, where launchers have a critical role. Considering the recent
structural problems faced by the European launchers industry, the EISC urges national
governments to provide to their industry the support necessary to allow it to remain
operational. In this regard, they should push for the quick adoption of an effective
support plan, which will be elaborated by ESA. To respond to the unbalanced
situation between Europe and other space powers (Russia and the US in particular),
the Conference urges its governments to launch their own satellites on European
launchers (Ariane and Vega) provided that economic conditions are comparable.

The conference stressed the need for Europe to ensure self-sufficiency in key strategic
technologies and a vigorous globally competitive industry. A strong European
presence in key space applications was required, both as a political instrument, and in
order to safeguard European strategic independence. The EISC urged, in particular,
the EC and ESA to progress the development of the Galileo satellite navigation
system and to ensure a strong European presence in all aspects of Space Based Earth
Observation through the implementation of the Global Monitoring for Environment
and Security (GMES) initiative.

For further information please contact Alan Hicks 01945 464975.

SpaceRef staff editor.