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EURISY Conference: Integration of the New EU Member Countries into the GMES Programme

The Warsaw Conference on “Integration of the new EU Member Countries
into the GMES Programme” was attended by around 160 experts from space
and user institutions, infrastructure and service industry, research
centers and academia. More than 40% of the audience was from outside
the space sector, and about half of the participants came from new
Member Countries.

The Conference focused on active
participation of the New EU Members States (NMS) in the future
development and application of GMES. It is the second in a series of
GMES-related conferences following the Berlin event and preceding the
Toulouse and Budapest ones, concluding with the Graz Conference to be
held in April 2006.
The participants acknowledged with
satisfaction the outcome of the European Union Space Council (Nov 28
2005) and the ESA Council meeting at ministerial level (Dec 5/6 2005)
at which a GMES programme was presented to Member States. In
particular, the decision of the ESA Council to launch the first phase
of the optional GMES programme with an over subscribed budget was
welcomed by the participants who saw it as a strong encouragement of
their effort toward building and integrating operational services. The
formal invitation by the ESA Council meeting at ministerial level to
countries from new EU member states to join the programme as fully
participating states was received with great enthusiasm and underlined
the relevance of the Conference. However, the participants expressed
their wish to see a greater commitment of the EU Member States,
supporting the swift implementation of GMES through the European
During the discussion, the participants
agreed that the involvement of user organisations, research
institutions and industry from the New EU Member States in GMES is
essential for ensuring the success of this programme in the enlarged
Europe. A number of stake holders from the NMS, most notably user
organizations and service industries, already participate in both the
ESA and EC GMES projects. Their involvement is presently limited to
land and ocean GMES projects, but must be extended to the GMES security
projects such as RISK-EOS, LIMES and PREVIEW. Participants were
convinced that industries in the New Member States have all the
required skills to participate as active players within GMES. In
particular, Industrial leaders already active in GMES welcomed the
participation of NMS industry in all roles within GMES, including space
and ground hardware, distribution/ processing / calibration, validation
and service provision. However, the potential of New Member States in
GMES is still not fully exploited, and there is a pressing need to
increase the involvement of New Member States actors in GMES.
For this purpose, a resources and
dedicated framework need to be made available and accessed within the
institutional set-up. The key GMES European-level stakeholders
including EC and the JRC, ESA, EUMETSAT, EUSC and EEA are all
developing new links and enlarging their respective membership and
cooperation with NMS national organizations. This clearly sets the
long-term institutional and programmatic framework for GMES.
Priority should be given to making full use of existing programmatic
and funding mechanisms to achieve this, including national funding from
the New Member States, activation of the ESA PECS (Plan for European
Cooperating States) mechanism, access to funds available through EC
Programmes, and involvement of NMS organizations in GMES.
The following specific recommendations emerged from the discussions that took place during the meeting:
1) The formal integration of the New EU
Member States to the GMES programme needs to be accelerated in order to
set-up the mechanisms facilitating collaboration at all levels. In
particular, ESA and officials from the New EU Member States are invited
to accelerate their efforts toward reaching agreements, either via the
PECS mechanism or the “Programme participation” mechanism of ESA.
2) The legal framework related to Earth
Observation applications, either at National or EU level, does not
support the development of services. The European Commission and
National Legislators are invited to undertake a careful screening of
existing legislation and required adaptations, following for example
the case of the water framework regulations.
3) In particular, the timely availability, the pricing and licensing
of data, services and products are critical for the deployment of GMES,
and need to be foreseen in the respective legal instruments.
4) Partnerships are seen as a key factor
for the development of the GMES Programme in general and the
integration of the new EU Member States in particular. It was
recognised that in addition to national and EU levels, the regional
(sub-national) level and cross borders (adjacent) coordination and
applications are essential and need to be supported. The GMES
institutional actors, in particular the EC and ESA, are invited to
foster the development of specific downstream services through
bilateral partnerships of new Member States’ and old Member States’
(Credits Eurisy)