The conference, entitled ‘EU Space Policy: Building up a Global Tool for Global Challenges’, takes as its starting point the fact that satellite navigation, observation and telecommunications systems have become ubiquitous and are affecting almost every aspect of our daily lives. From travel to security, farming to the environment, broadcasting to phoning, there are few areas where satellites cannot reach.
But how can policy-makers foster the technological and entrepreneurial boom while devising a sound regulatory framework? The conference will address the key challenges facing EU space policy: boosting the competitiveness of the EU space industry, promoting the key role of research and development, and ensuring an effective governance of EU space activities.
Leading names in space policy
The conference will feature an exhaustive list of leading names in European space policy, and the breadth of issues covered is reflected in the names taking part. Alongside European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, Vice President Antonio Tajani (Enterprise and Industry), Commissioners Michel Barnier (Internal Market and Services), and Cecilia Malmström (Home Affairs) will take part in the conference.
Carlo des Dorides, the Executive Director of the European GNSS Agency (GSA) will also take part, speaking during a debate on January 30 about the relationship between the European Commission and the various national and European agencies dealing with space policy.
Research, industry and governance challenges to debate
The conference organisers say the debate will challenge speakers on whether the 27 Member States are ready to mobilise the financial resources needed to meet the EU’s commitment with regard to a space policy mentioned in the Lisbon Treaty. The conference has sessions that correspond to the two pillars on which EU space policy is expected to rely on: (1) an industrial policy, and (2) a research and innovation policy tailored to the specificities of the space sector.
In addition to discussing EU space policy, the conference will look at the European space programmes – the Galileo satellite navigation system and the EGNOS signal enhancing system and Copernicus, the European Earth observation programme – along with the EU’s research plans for the 2014-2020 budgetary period. There will also be debates on governance issues, from questions like data management and the future European system for space surveillance and security to broader ones about how, by whom should these different space programmes and initiatives be managed – a particularly tricky issue given the increasing dual use of space services and applications for both civil and defence purposes.