The meeting was chaired by General Dr. Massimo Capaldo, Head of the Meteorological Department (Chief of the Staff Office — Ufficio Generale Spazio Aereo e Meteorologia) in the Italian General Meteorological Office.
This was the first EUMETSAT Council attended by Hungary as a full Member State, having joined on October 9, 2008. The Council approved resolutions on the accession of Poland and Latvia with a view to them becoming full Member States in 2009. The EUMETSAT Council extended the Cooperating State Agreement with Romania until the end of 2010. Negotiations on Romania becoming a full Member State will start in early 2009. The Council also approved an amendment to the Cooperating State agreement with Serbia, paving the way for the ratification of this agreement.
The Council also approved the organization of a meeting of potential participants in the Jason-2 ocean altimetry satellite follow-on program in early 2009, with several delegates expressing support for a Jason-2 follow-on mission. The Council adopted a Preliminary Programme Proposal on the Sentinel-3 Third Party Programme. This will allow EUMETSAT to initiate activities in January 2009 in anticipation of the later approval of a GMES/Kopernikus Sentinel-3 as a Third Party Programme in EUMETSAT under the responsibility of the European Space Agency (ESA). EUMETSAT will be the operator of Sentinel-3, serving the marine user community with near-real-time and off-line products.
The Council endorsed the concept for cooperation with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on the Joint Polar System to follow the current generation of polar satellites. It also extended the cooperation agreement with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on the exchange of data from geostationary satellites to include polar-orbiting and ocean altimetry satellites. The Council approved a new technical building to support EUMETSAT’s present and future operational activities.
Finally, the Council discussed plans for promoting further EUMETSAT climate monitoring activities. This includes being a proactive contributor to new climate initiatives by, and implementing cooperation with, the European Commission and ESA; reinforcing cooperation on climate with the World Meteorological Organization, the Group on Earth Observations and the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites; improving existing EUMETSAT communication activities on climate monitoring; updating the EUMETSAT Satellite Application Facility strategy to further support climate monitoring; and implementing a climate section in the EUMETSAT Earth Observation portal.