Communication sketching aspects of the forthcoming European Space Policy

For the first time the document reveals the likely components of
the policy, namely: a strategy outlining objectives; a definition of
the roles and responsibilities of the main actors; a European Space
Programme identifying the priorities of the main actors; and a set of
implementing principles.
 
The draft outline has been prepared by a
joint EC-European Space Agency (ESA) secretariat, and follows
discussions with EU Member State representatives and industry. The
paper will be further developed following a meeting of the Space
Council on 7 June, and then submitted to the Space Council for
approval. The policy is expected to be finalised before the end of
2005.
 
The role of the EU within the future
European Space Policy will include defining the priorities and
requirements for space-based systems that will serve the EU’s main
objectives and policies, as well as citizens’ needs, and building up
political will and user demand in support of these.
 
The EU will also ensure the availability
and continuity of services supporting EU policies by funding relevant
up-stream research activities, securing deployment and operational
phases of space systems and, where appropriate, stimulating user
funding.
 
ESA, in agreement with its member
countries and cooperating states will be responsible for the technical
specification of the space segment of space application programmes;
developing and implementing space technologies, in particular in access
to space, science and exploration; and pursuing excellence in
scientific research in, of and from space. ESA will also advise the EU
on space segment requirements needed to ensure the availability and
continuity of services.
 
The policy’s priorities relate to two
objectives: the exploitation and exploration of space. The EU’s
priorities will be driven by the potential that space has to contribute
to its policies and activities, and will therefore focus on
applications. In particular, the EU’s current priorities are Galileo,
its satellite navigations system; GMES (global monitoring for
environment and security); and long term research into satellite
communication technologies in the context of the European Information
Society in 2010 initiative (i2010).
 
ESA will focus on the exploration of
space, and on the basic tools on which the exploitation and exploration
of space depend: access to space, scientific knowledge and space
technologies. The communication states that the European Space Policy
will be accompanied by three new instruments:
?Ø a sector-specific industrial policy, enabling Europe to
ensure the industrial and critical technological sources and
competences required;
?Ø a policy on international cooperation that meets the wide geopolitical objectives of EU external relations policies;
?Ø instruments for investing in programmes and for ensuring their efficient management.
 
In terms of international cooperation, the
paper reasserts that ‘space activities are global by nature’, and
recommends that Europe should intensify its partnership with Russia,
maintain cooperation with the US in the fields of science and
applications, and initiate or extend cooperation with emerging space
powers.
 
Much of the funding for the EU’s
activities will come from the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) for
research and technological development. Galileo and GMES were taken
into account when the Commission put forward its proposal for FP7, and
other activities will also be eligible for funding under the
programme’s various thematic priorities. Other funding may come from
sources such as the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme
(CIP).
 
The legal framework for the policy has
yet to be decided upon.The communication sets out a number of possible
scenarios, which include:
?Ø the EU taking substantially more responsibility for
identifying and bringing together user needs; aggregating political
will; ensuring the necessary technology developments to meet these
needs; and ensuring the availability and continuity of services;
?Ø ESA responding to developments in the relationship with an enlarged EU;
?Ø the EU reflecting upon whether it has the appropriate mechanisms for managing its space activities.
 
Info extracted from www.cordis.lu


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