The need to establish a European Space Policy has also been endorsed by EU Heads of State and Government. The Member States of the EU and ESA highlighted that the further implementation of the GALILEO and GMES programmes, the development of a Strategy on International Relations in Space and the need to develop adequate instruments and funding schemes for Community actions in the space domain should be first priorities, followed by improved coordination and synergies between defence and civilian space programmes and technologies, in a user-driven approach. This report describes both the important steps forward made since May 2007 and the further actions which are priorities in the coming period.
On its European Space Policy Progress Report, published on 11 September 2008, the European Commission stated that the three main GMES services (Ocean, Land and Emergency) will be pre-operational by the end of 2008. Moreover a new atmosphere service will be developed and user requirement for security services will be identified. A communication is expected before the end of 2008 on GMES governance and financing.
The European Space Policy Progress Report aims at providing an overview on the main progress achieved in the framework of the European Space Policy, initiated by the EU Member States. Given that one of the key objectives of the ESP is the further implementation of the GMES programme, the report describes the GMES priorities in the forthcoming months.
The Commission affirms that the GMES three main Services (Land, Ocean and Emergency) will be pre-operational by the end of 2008 and user requirements for security services should be identified. Moreover, an additional Atmosphere Pilot Service should be developed, as well as a potential contribution of GMES to addressing climate change.
Data provision on climate change is supported by relevant programmes of EUMESAT (the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites) and ESA. The latter is preparing a Climate Change Initiative to be tabled on the November 2008 ESA Ministerial Council. This initiative shall consolidate ESA’s archives after 30 years of Earth Observation data to support the re-analysis processes by climate research centres.
During the 2 years pre-operational phase (2008-2010), ESA will be responsible for the provision of coordinated data for GMES Services. At the same time, EUMESAT will make freely available to GMES Services data and products from its operational satellites.
GMES needs obviously an institutional framework in order to ensure its sustainability. Thus the Commissions will issue a proposal for appropriate governance and financial schemes in a Communication to the EU Council and Parliament due for the last quarter of 2008.
Key issue ahead is also an agreement between ESA Member States and the EU with regard to the funding of the GMES Space Component ‘Segment 2’. This agreement is expected to be decided during the November 2008 ESA Ministerial Council.
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