Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to address you on the occasion of the opening of the French Norwegian Space Forum here in Oslo.
Some of us just arrived back from Svalbard, a strategic centre for Norwegian space related activities. Svalbard is increasingly also an international arena for exploration and innovation. I am convinced that this interest from the international space community will continue.
France and Norway have good and long traditions for cooperation on space related activities. Not least within the framework of the European Space Agency, but certainly also on a bilateral basis. This meeting and the framework agreement should provide an excellent base towards an even closer cooperation.
Looking at the national priorities in France and Norway, it is evident that the complementarity of our space ambitions creates room for further cooperation.
France has a wide range of different satellites, several of which are used by Norway when conducting studies of the weather and marine sciences. On the other hand Norway offers high-quality ground-based services for the global space community at Svalbard, Antarctica and Andoya. Currently France and Norway participate successfully together in EASP on using scientific rockets and balloons. Norway wishes to renew this agreement beyond the current duration, and we hope to involve France even more in the satellite operations and downlink services on Svalbard. We are also very satisfied with the collaboration on satellite navigation and see the importance in expanding this work. Furthermore I am pleased to note the good bilateral cooperation between CNES and NSC, as well as between companies, institutes and individual scientists in both countries.
The Norwegian company Telenor has several commercial broadcasting satellites. On a national level the work is now underway to develop a first satellite that will provide a complete picture of the Norwegian territorial waters when it comes to ship recognition. I believe that this is a technology that could also be of interest to the international community.
There are many more opportunities for cooperation on the industrial side, both within the ESA programmes and commercially. We believe it is important to improve the link between the collaborations in these different fields.
It is often said that Norway is the country in Europe with the largest potential benefit from the use of space for the good of its society and citizens.
I believe this to be a fact. This is also reflected in our strategy for the High North, which is one of the central political priorities for this Government. The Norwegian Government places such high importance on the developments in the High North for a large number of reasons. It stems, of course, partly from our nature-given geographical position.
Space activities are also increasingly playing an important role within this framework.
But issues relating to the High North are also receiving increased international attention. One of the reasons for this is the realisation that climate change in the High North may have large consequences also on the global environmental balance and resource management.
I would therefore especially like to emphasise the very important role that space related infrastructure plays for a sustainable environmental policy. Earth observation satellites provide us with data to help us understand how ecological processes and man-made influences affect the environment.
Satellite photos showing the large changes in the ice over Greenland and the Arctic Ocean is an important and convincing tool in the fight against climate change.
So space activities are not “all about business”. An important aspect, shared by France and Norway, is the focus on developing space applications to the benefit of society. When we make our priorities, we therefore have to keep in mind that space activities are more than business policy. Space activities are increasingly relevant. Both with regard to the environment as I’ve already mentioned. But also with regard to research and technology development. Furthermore it also contributes to improved resource management. This is a development that is strongly appreciated by my Government.
Norway’s national needs and our strengths and advantages have dominated our priorities in space. Our main priorities in space have been telecommunications, earth observation and navigation. Within all these areas Norway has developed leading industrial, application and scientific capabilities.
We can only reach these national needs and fulfil our political priorities through well functioning international collaboration. For Norway ESA is the main tool for our space endeavour. Norwegian membership in ESA has great benefits for our industry, and the Norwegian industry has done a very good job within the ESA context.
Today Norway is an active player in European space activities, and we welcome the increased alignment of the European strategies.
The fact that Norway is not a member of the EU means that further developments of the European Space Policy are of the utmost importance to us. We will work on securing a future role for Norway within this changing framework and we have declared our intention to participate in the EU part of the Galileo project.
As a non-member of the EU, strong support from our European friends is sometimes necessary in order to secure the Norwegian positions. I would like to use this opportunity to convey our strong appreciation for the support France has provided on issues concerning Norway and the EU.
France and Norway have many common goals and interests in space matters. I believe that the framework agreement is a step towards a further strengthening of the already very good cooperation between France and Norway in space related activities. I look forward to following this development.
With this I wish you good luck with what I know will be a very interesting meeting.
Thank you for your attention! Ministry of Trade and Industry
Ministry of Trade and Industry
P.O.Box 8014 Dep 0030 Oslo – Norway
CONTACT: Ministry of Trade and Industry Tel: +47 22 24 90 90