1. Last year you were the rapporteur for the Space strategy, and you recommended « further development of Galileo and Copernicus to benefit downstream economy” Do you think this EU space budget allows for this?
The space budget as proposed by the European Commission is designed to ensure the continuity of the successful space programmes as well as their evolution. The Commission is right to make this a priority, because the uptake and use of Galileo and Copernicus already generates significant economic added value, which benefits the citizens, and the programmes’ potential is huge.
2. Rapporteur Salini stated that he would support the increase of the overall budget from €16 billion to €16.7 billion in support of the GovSatCom’s project and the development of the space security program (SSA) well-known as new security components. Do you share his opinion?
I strongly believe in the usefulness of SSA – and SST in particular as it serves to protect EU space infrastructure from space debris. Any collision with space debris could lead to the loss of billions that the EU has invested in the space programmes. It is quite doubtful, however, if the proposed allocation of 0,5 bn to SSA and Govsatcom would be sufficient to develop both programmes in a meaningful way. And although I agree with Mr Salini that a higher overall budget for space is desirable, I am not convinced that it is achievable in the current overall budgetary situation and am therefore proposing to cut the Govsatcom component to allow for greater flexibility within the budget proposed by the European Commission.
3. Earth Observation is recognized as a very effective way for the European Commission to meet various information needs in line with its executive responsibilities. We see that some policies do use Earth Observation technologies, such as the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy), but the majority, like the water frame work directive do not fully exploit it. What could be done to solve this problem?
The European Parliament has repeatedly called on the European Commission to ‘space-proof’ legislation. In its 2017 Own-Initiative Report on the space strategy, the European Parliament explicitly asked the European Commission to carry out a systematic space check before it tables new proposals – and to remove any barriers to the use of space technologies by the public sector. Doing this would finally ensure that the EU space programmes and their manifold possibilities are put to the best use in the public sector.