On 26 September 2008, the 5th Space Council welcomed the progress made with the implementation of the European Space Policy and highlighted new priority areas in a Resolution. This Resolution was adopted both by the Council of the EU (Competitiveness) and by the Ministerial Council of the European Space Agency (ESA).
The Resolution recognises that the European Union, alongside the ESA and the Member States, is a major player in space. The EU is charged in particular with the strengthening of the coordination of resources and programmes with ESA and the Member States and the development of EU instruments and funding schemes to allow for a long-term Community investment in space.
It also takes stock of the progress made with the two European flagship programmes Galileo and Kopernikus (formerly called GMES), inviting the Commission to elaborate an action plan for the setting-up of a Kopernikus programme.
Four new priority areas are defined:
space and climate change
the contribution of space to the Lisbon strategy
space and security
In the field of climate change, the Commission is invited to study the needs for full access to standardised data and for increased computing power. In the field of security, the Resolution underlines the need for Europe to equip itself with a capability to monitor and survey its space infrastructure and space debris, with the EU in liaison with the ESA and Member States taking an active role to define the governance of this capability. Finally, in the field of space exploration, the Commission is tasked with organising an international political conference to develop a common vision for Europe and its role in this global endeavour.
On 25-26 November in The Hague, the Ministers of ESA Member States will gather in a Council meeting. This meeting will permit to turn the resolution of 26 September into concrete programmes. On that time, the ESA Director General shall submit a proposal for the subscription of the second segment of the Kopernikus Space Component that will enable to complete the development of most of the initial series of Sentinel satellites
See also: Visit the European Space Policy website
The Space Council is the joint and concomitant meeting of the EU and ESA Council of Ministers in charge of space activities. On 26 September 2008, the fifth Space Council, partly chaired by the French Minister of Higher Education and Research Valérie Pécresse and Maria Van Der Hoeven, the Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs and current Chair of the ESA Council of Ministers, held in Brussels. The objective of this high-level meeting was to assess the progress made in the implementation of the European Space Policy over the last 16 months and identify further priorities. Focusing on the two European flagships, Galileo and Kopernikus, the Ministers adopted a resolution – “Taking forward the European Space Policy” – which highlights the significant advances in these programmes.
Establishing new priorities for the European Space Policy, this resolution identified four additional areas: space and climate change, contributions of space to the Lisbon Strategy, space and security and space exploration. In the field of climate, the Space Council supported the joint preparation by ESA and EUMESAT (the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites) of an innovative programme proposal for Meteosat Third Generation, which will also contribute to the climate change detection within Kopernikus.
With regard to the latter, the Ministers set out the requirements for an action plan on Kopernikus implementation, which should include operational service delivery mechanisms, an approach for the overall governance of the system and of all its components, and a comprehensive data policy. Moreover, the Ministers recognised the need to draw up a plan providing sustainable operational funding for Kopernikus and welcomed the proposal of the European Commission to start this with a new preparatory action in the preliminary budgets for 2009.