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High Representative / Vice President Federica Mogherini visits the European Union Satellite Centre (EU SatCen) and is briefed on SatCen’s Copernicus activities

On Monday 16 February 2015, the High Representative / Vice President Federica Mogherini visited the European Union Satellite Centre (SatCen) – a Council Agency based in Torrejón de Ardoz near Madrid. The High Representative was hosted by the Satellite Centre’s Director Pascal Legai and met with SatCen specialists.

In his briefing, Director Legai underlined some key aspects of the EU Satellite Centre as a unique asset to support the decision making and actions of the European Union in the CFSP/CSDP (1) field, including EU Crisis Management missions and operations, under the operational direction of the HR. The human dimension of the SatCen operations was also stressed, with its 24/7/365 availability, near real time production – when data and imagery are accessible -, end-user focus and secured analytical and dissemination process.

The main users of the SatCen products and services are EU Member States, the (European External Action Service) EEAS, the High Representative team, the EU Intelligence Analysis Centre (IntCen), the EU Military Staff (EUMS), the Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability (CPCC), various CSDP missions and operations as well as the European Commission. The Centre’s users also include and international organisations such as the United Nations (UN), Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Director Legai emphasised that, to face a growing and evolving demand, further development of SatCen will rely on COOPERATION, mainly with the Commission (Copernicus, Space Situational Awareness, Frontex), to concretely implement synergies and avoid duplications while building on the SatCen’s 20-year experience in the Earth Observation and space-security domains. In this context, the HR was informed about two important initiatives paving the way for increased cooperation with the Commission: shaping the role of the SatCen in the upcoming Copernicus service in support of EU external Action (SEA), and the consolidation of the cooperation with FRONTEX through an administrative arrangement on Border Surveillance activities.

The HR was also presented with concrete examples of products and services derived from analysis of satellite imagery and addressing current EU Security threats, in particular on geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) for border surveillance and refugee camp monitoring to support sizing of humanitarian aid needs (in the framework of SEA Copernicus activations performed by FP7 projects G-NEXT and G-SEXTANT).

(Source EU SatCen) and Copernicus

(1) Common Foreign and Security Policy / Common Security and Defence Policy