Further steps towards a European space policy

Info extracted from ESA website 
 
The
second meeting of the Space Council ?± concomitant meeting of the ESA
Council at ministerial level and of the European Union Competitiveness
Council (Internal Market/Industry/Research) ?± was held at the Kiem
Conference Centre in Luxembourg today.
 
In consultation with private and public
stakeholders, the Space Council is working on the definition of a
coherent space policy and associated programmes, covering the
activities of the EU, ESA and their Member States. The objective is to
endorse, at the third Space Council meeting planned for November this
year, a European space policy and European space programme for the
period to 2013.
 
The orientations for a European space
programme are based on the Framework Agreement between the European
Community and ESA and on the ESA Convention. At this second meeting,
the Space Council confirmed that the European space policy should cover
mainly the following:
?Ø a European space strategy,
?Ø a European space programme matching the strategy and reflecting associated costs and funding sources,
?Ø a commitment by the main contributors as to their roles and responsibilities,
?Ø the key principles of implementation.
 
The aim of the strategy is to develop
increasingly advanced space systems according to user needs. All the
benefits derived from associated services will have to be shared by
all. The EU will have to identify user needs and build a political will
around them. ESA and its Member and Cooperating States will develop
future space technologies and systems and pursue excellence in
space-based scientific research.
 
Priorities within the European space
programme see the EU focusing on space-based applications to contribute
to the achievement of its policies, particularly Galileo and the Global
Monitoring for Environment and Security programme (GMES). ESA will
focus on space exploration and on the basic tools on which the
exploitation and exploration of space each depend. Securing guaranteed
access to space through a complete, competitive family of launchers,
pursuing excellence in space science, and exploiting its know-how in
the exploration of the planetary system and in developing technologies
to maintain a competitive space sector will be among ESA??s main tasks.
 
The investments needed for these
priorities for the EU, ESA and Member States will be identified in the
coming months and go through each organisation’s normal budgetary and
programmatic approval procedures. By coordinating efforts, the players
will ensure that new investments bring additional outcomes. Financing
sources for space-related activities for the EU are the Seventh
Framework Programme of research, technology and development, the
trans-European network programme, and the competitiveness and
innovation programme. ESA draws on Member States’ contributions to
mandatory and optional programmes.
 
EU space-related programmes will be
managed in line with an efficiency criterion, in accordance with the
Framework Agreement, and will benefit from ESA’s technical and
management experience, in cooperation with the relevant agencies and
entities in Europe. ESA programmes will be managed in line with its
Convention. Decisions on future programmes taken at ESA’s ministerial
Council meeting in December this year, and discussions on future EU
financial prospects, will make it possible to determine whether the
programme is consistent with the ambitions of the European space
policy.
 
The second meeting of the Space Council
was chaired jointly by Ms Edelgard Bulmahn, German Minister for
Education and Research and current Chair of the ESA Council at
ministerial level, and Mr Fran?Åois Biltgen, Minister for Labour and
Employment, Minister for Culture, Higher Education and Research in
Luxembourg, and current Chair of the EU Competitiveness Council. The
meeting was also attended by Mr G¬?nter Verheugen, European Commission
Vice-President, in charge of enterprise, industry, competitiveness and
space matters and by Mr Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director General of the
European Space Agency.
German Minister Edelgard Bulmahn said: ” Today we are sending an
important signal: ESA and EU are moving ahead on their way to put space
at the service of the European citizen and the Policies of the EU.
Building on the long-standing experience of ESA, the European Space
Programme will enable Europe to face the political, economical and
scientific challenges of tomorrow.”
 
Luxembourg Minister Fran?Åois Biltgen said:
“By agreeing on essential elements of the future European space policy,
we have today taken a considerable step forward towards establishing a
joint European space programme. Thus, the groundwork has been laid for
the third Space Council planned for end-2005 to endorse a European
space policy and programme.”
 
Commission Vice-President G¬?nter
Verheugen stated : “I am grateful for the full support the Space
Council has given the Commission today. We will now work full speed
ahead and complete our proposal for a European space policy and
programme. This will identify programme priorities for future European
development of space applications.”
 
ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain
said: “ESA has just turned 30. Thanks to the continuous support of its
Member States, it has grown to make the European space sector one of
the foremost competitors in the world and at the same time has become a
respected partner. Now the European space policy is being integrated
within the wider ambitions of Europe and space is set to become a much
larger and more integrated undertaking in our future. ESA is prepared
to adapt in order to take on an even greater role for Europe.” 


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