Nov 18, 2011

End-users should be better accounted for in discussions about the future of the European Space Policy

Estimated Article Reading Time: 1 min.

Eurisy Communiqué

Eurisy welcomes the recognition of space benefits to society and calls for continued investment in Europe’s Space Programmes. However, for such investments to be sustainable, more needs to be done by policy-makers, the space industry and the downstream sector to stimulate not only the offer of services, but also demand, at all levels.

On the occasion of the 4th Conference on EU Space Policy, representatives of EU institutions, ESA, EUMETSAT and the space industry agreed that “Europe’s space programmes develop services for citizens” (Jean Jacques Dordain, Director General of ESA) and that, while the European space policy is compared to a 3rd industrial revolution, “it is crucial that it generates social benefits” (Antonio Tajani, Commissioner DG Enterprise and Industry, EC).

The Polish Presidency of the Council of the EU highlighted that space applications need to be relevant to citizens, and that therefore “user-driven innovation contributes to economic success” (Grazyna Henclewska, Deputy Minister of Economy, Poland). Yet “the benefits of Europe’s space programmes to citizens are not yet clear enough” (Vittorio Prodi, MEP, Sky & Space Intergroup).

Since 2006, Eurisy’s User Programme has demonstrated that while pioneering cities, regions and SMEs are already using satellite services, many are yet unaware of the benefits of space. More should be done to raise awareness, make the case for the usefulness of satellite services, and implement end-user-specific mechanisms supporting their access to innovative satellite services. This will stimulate take-up, thus multiply return on investments in space programmes, and ensure their sustainability.