Science and Exploration

European Ministerial Council Concludes with New Resolutions and Funding for Their Space 4.0 Vision

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
December 2, 2016
Filed under , ,
European Ministerial Council Concludes with New Resolutions and Funding for Their Space 4.0 Vision
ESA Council meeting at Ministerial Level, Lucerne, on 1 December 2016

ESA today concluded a two-day Council meeting at ministerial level in Lucerne, Switzerland. Ministers in charge for space matters from ESA’s 22 member states plus Slovenia and Canada allocated €10.3 billion for space activities and programmes based on the vision of a United Space in Europe in the era of Space 4.0.
The high level of subscriptions demonstrates once more that ESA’s Member States consider space as a strategic and attractive investment with a particularly high socio-economic value.

It also underlines that ESA is THE European Space Agency capable of channeling their investment to respond effectively to regional, national and European needs by covering all elements of space: science, human spaceflight, exploration, launchers, telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, applications (combining space, airborne and terrestrial technology), operations and technologies; as well as responding to the needs and challenges of Europe and the Member States by bringing together all stakeholders.

Ministers confirmed the confidence that ESA can conceptualize, shape and organize the change in the European space sector and in ESA itself. While also acting as a global player, broker and mediator at the centre of international cooperation in space activities, in areas ranging from the far away in exploration (with the concept of a Moon Village for instance) to supporting closer to home the international global climate research effort following the Paris Agreement of 2015.

At this summit, Ministers in charge of space matters have declared support for ESA’s Director General’s vision for Europe in space and the role and development of ESA: now the Space 4.0i era can start with ESA committing to inform, innovate, interact and inspire. And, building on commercialization, participation, digitalization, jobs and growth, the concept of “United Space in Europe” will soon become a reality.

The following Resolutions were adopted:

– Towards Space 4.0 for a United Space in Europe,
– Level of Resources for the Agency’s Mandatory Activities 2017-2021,
– CSG (Guiana Space Centre) (2017-2021),
– ESA Programmes

Additionally, a Resolution on setting up the “ESA Grand Challenge (PDF)” was approved in regular Council on 30 November.

The Resolutions (PDF) are available on ESA’s website.

The sums allocated by Ministers to allow ESA to reach its future goals can be summarized as follows:

Maximise the integration of space into European society and economy
Amount: €2.5 billion

Foster a globally competitive European space sector
Amount: €1.4 billion

Ensure European autonomy in accessing and using space in a safe and secure environment
Amount: €1.8 billion

Foundation: excellence in space science and technology
Amount: €4.6 billion

The same amounts can also be seen spread in a more traditional approach by programme families.

ESA program budget

The figures above include Member States’ additional subscriptions to already-running optional programmes not tabled at the Ministerial.

Next Council at Ministerial Level
Ministers decided to hold the next Council at ministerial level during late 2019 in Spain under the Chairmanship of Luis de Guindos, Minister of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness.

ESA Ministerial Council Media Briefing

About the European Space Agency
The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space.

ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

ESA has 22 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Slovenia is an Associate Member.

ESA has established formal cooperation with six Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. It is working in particular with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes as well as with EUMETSAT for the development of meteorological missions.

ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities.

Today, it develops and launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space. ESA also has a strong applications programme developing services in the Earth observation, navigation and telecommunications domain.

Learn more about ESA at

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