First row from left to the right: Emanuele Barreca, EC officer; Gedas Vaitukus, Lithuanian Copernicus Relays representative; Josef Aschbacher, Director of Earth Observation Programmes at the European Space Agency; Philippe Brunet, Director of EC’s Directorate for Space Policy, Copernicus and Defence; Constanze Krehl, MEP; Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs; Monika Hohlmeier, MEP and Chair of the Sky and Space Intergroup; Markku Markkula, President of the Committee of the Regions; Peter Zeil, Copernicus Academy representative; Julien Turpin, EC officer and Stefano La Terra Bella, EC officer. (© European Commission)
“Copernicus is a user-driven programme and we need the Copernicus Relays and Copernicus Academy to help us reach its full potential! […] We [EU] also want to go a step further by creating the conditions for a new downstream ecosystem to develop. The Copernicus Relays and the Copernicus Academy will be the backbone of our strategy”.
This is how Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs welcomed to the new members of the “Copernicus family” at the official launch ceremony of the Copernicus Relays and Copernicus Academy, that took place on Tuesday 6 June.
The European Parliament (EP) in Brussels, the chamber at which all the EU citizens are represented and which houses the more than 750 offices of elected members, was the venue hosting the first milestone for the European Space Strategy and the latest for the Copernicus Programme. The Copernicus Relays and Academy networks, created by the European Commission at the beginning of the year, are a ground-breaking tool for the strong uptake of the Copernicus Programme across Europe, and have aroused vast interest from entities in all participating countries – and beyond. The importance of involving industry and notably SMEs was stressed by several speakers.
The Copernicus Relays are the regional voices of Copernicus in the individual Member States, thus creating a bridge between the EC and the end-users of Copernicus. The Academy aims to educate and release an increasing amount of Copernicus-savvy people into the workforce bringing together the educational and research sectors across the EU.