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First info on EC Communication "on the future involvement of the European Union in Space"

Initial screening and planning of the Impact Assessment Board of the EC regarding the future EC Communication “on the future involvement of the European Union in Space” which should be issued in September this year.

You’ll find in the attached document:

A. Context and problem definition:

a. Political context

b. Main problems identified;

i. Space policies and investments are decided at national/intergovernmental level

ii. The level of national investment for dedicated space programmes has reached its upper limit

iii. EU is dependent on third parties for critical technologies

iv. Space capabilities are not fully exploited to the benefit of climate change challenges

v. Security in space and from space is not ensured

vi. The EU lacks involvement and a long-term strategy for space exploration

vii. EU funding for space research and innovation is still inadequate compared to other space powers

B. Objectives of EU initiative

a. General objectives:

With the entry into force of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the EU has a clear mandate to act in the space areas and to respond to the European Space policy general objectives: promote scientific and technical progress, promote industrial competitiveness, support research and technological development, coordinate efforts for the exploration and exploitation of space

b. Specific objectives:

i. Provide a model of coordination that allows to:

1. Ensure that space policies are implemented in the context of a long-term plan addressed to better respond to EU needs, including other key European policies, as well as the needs of European citizens

2. Ensure that the EU space policy is addressed at enhancing the competitiveness of the EU space industry; Develop and industrial policy adapted to the needs of the sector; Develop a regulatory policy responding to existing and emerging needs at European level

3. Avoid overlap, fragmentation and discontinuity of space initiatives; Aggregate policy and user needs, provide long-term programmatic coherence and continuity.

4. Ensure availability of space-based applications at EU level

5. Establish appropriate measures to ensure interoperability between existing space systems and ground-based infrastructures among EU countries.

6. Establish and implement coordination mechanisms to ensure that space action is taken at the most efficient level and that there is a common response to global regulatory issues.

ii. Ensure a level of investment adequate to meet EU objectives

1. Aggregate resources at EU level, instrumental to create synergies between EU policies and respond to EU priorities. However, not to the detriment of current investments within ESA activities.

2. Develop a long-term and clear vision of for national and EU programmes and secure investment in them will be crucial to ensure long-term development prospects for an industry that is largely dependent on institutional demand (e.g. 60% of the European space segment turnover comes from institutional customers.)

iii. Reduce the dependence on critical technologies and capabilities from outside Europe for future space applications; enable the European industry to get non-restricted access to high performance components that will allow increasing its competitiveness and expertise in the space domain. As explained by the EC-ESA-EDA Joint Task Force19, Europe is not aiming at technology independence but at taking actions to ensure European non-dependence for technologies which are considered critical for the European space industry.

iv. Fully exploit space capabilities and, notably, Earth observations systems to tackle the challenges of climate change.

v. Enhance security in space and from space

vi. Define a long-term strategy for the EU role in space exploration

vii. Ensure adequate EU funding for space research and innovation

c. Options

i. Option 1: Baseline scenario: Adequate funding for GMES is provided; moderate increase in space research and innovation funding

ii. Option 2: Baseline + climate change and space and security as well as a further increase in space research and innovation funding and increased coordination

iii. Option 3: Option 2 + limited space exploration expenditures

iv. Option 4: Option 2 + Substantial space exploration

d. Initial assessment of impacts

e. Planning of further impact assessment work

Source Eurospace