2008 is the year when GMES programme should move from its phase of preparation into that of pre-operational demonstrations. In this context the organizers of the Lille Forum on 16 -17 September gathered several decision makers and potential users of GMES in order to demonstrate the capabilities and benefits of GMES services, and to encourage companies to use them.
The European Commission Vice President Günter Verheugen announced the new name of GMES: Kopernikus. Indeed, with this new name, GMES enters a new era. The name Kopernikus was chosen in memory of the famous European astronomer – Nikolaus Kopernikus – who contributed to change the mankind’s perception of our Earth.
During his speech, Vice-President Verheugen stated that Kopernikus should be seen as a part of the public infrastructure, and should consequently be seen as a “public good”.
The Commission also underlined the ESA’s role as coordinator of the Kopernikus Space Component with its development and procurement role for the Sentinel Satellite series and its role of coordinator for contributing missions by Member States and other relevant partners of Kopernikus.
Afterwards, Valérie Pecresse, French Minister for Higher Education and Research, stated that data collected through Kopernikus should be free and made available via a unique portal. In the end, she has declared that Kopernikus has proved the role of the European Commission as an important actor of the European Space Policy.
Finally, all partners of the initiative expressed strong political support for Kopernikus ahead of the 5th Space Council decisions to be tabled on 26 September 2008 in Brussels.
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