Jan 18, 2012

European space strategy: call for adequate funding

Estimated Article Reading Time: 1 min.

The EU’s Galileo satellite navigation programme should get proper long-term funding and its GMES earth observation programme should be officially included in the EU’s long-term budget, according to a report by Italian EPP member Aldo Patriciello on “EU space strategy” to be debated Thursday.

Europe’s space policy aims to promote technological and scientific progress to stimulate industrial innovation and competitiveness. “The European space industry has a consolidated turnover of €5.4 billion and employs over 31,000 highly skilled people,” Patriciello said, explaining that space activities and applications are “vital to our society’s growth and development”.

Galileo “enabling the EU to remain independent”

The priorities for EU space policy are the flagship Galileo and Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) projects as well as climate change, security, competitiveness and space exploration.

Galileo will be the first satellite navigation system in the world designed for civilian use and will provide a viable alternative to the US global positioning system. “It should enable the Union to remain independent in a strategically important field,” he said

Patriciello fears Galileo could lose the lead if the system is not completed on time and calls on the Commission to complete the legislative and financial framework. If the 27 satellites plus a suitable number of spare satellites and adequate ground infrastructure are deployed in reasonable time, “the EU will attain the added value of Galileo in terms of authentication, high precision and uninterrupted service (and) reap the economic and societal benefits,” he said.

GMES: “without financing investment has been fruitless”

The GMES programme is designed to help combat climate change, environmental degradation and civil protection by means of early warning systems and emergency management.

So far, GMES has been funded through the EU budget, but the Commission has said that after 2013, it should instead get intergovernmental funding. That could endanger the project, the draftsman said, “I hope that the Commission will complete the legislative framework by financing GMES in the multiannual financial framework for 2014-2020. The lack of a financing plan providing economic support could mean investment made to date has been fruitless.”

REF. : 20120113STO35297
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