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Ministers ask EU to guarantee access to space

In a resolution adopted on 26 September, European ministers responsible for space underlined the strategic importance of guaranteeing the continent’s political and technological independence on space and unveiled their ambition to make Europe one of the world’s leading space powers.

The joint resolution, adopted by EU competitiveness ministers and representatives of the European Space Agency (ESA) in the European Space Council on 26 September, sets out the broad lines and priorities for European space policy in the years to come.

The four main priorities identified for future EU space activites are:
monitoring climate change
Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs
improving security
space exploration

But ministers also particularly urged the bloc to focus on the implementation of the EU’s two flagship programmes for satellite radio navigation (Galileo) and global monitoring for environment and security (GMES).

While their resolution reiterates the fact that GMES and Galileo are civilian systems under civilian control, it nevertheless says synergies between civilian and defence space programmes must be improved.

It further stresses that the overall aim of Europe should be to become one of the world’s main space powers. It also repeatedly inisists on the importance of guaranteeing Europe’s strategic independence in this field, be it political or technological.

Meanwhile, the ministers recognised that Europe is currently dependent on overseas suppliers “for selected critical space technologies and components”. Therefore, they called on the EU to design “mitigation strategies” and to take “practical steps” to put an end to this dependency.

A European Space Agency ministerial council on 25-26 November is expected to turn today’s resolution into concrete programmes.


- Council Resolution: Taking forward the European Space Policy (26 September 2008) – Commission working document: European space policy progress reportexternal (11 September 2008) – EU 27 eye increased EU action on space2008 budget deal heralds shift in EU policy

Source EUractiv