The EC has adopted the European Space Policy

The European Commission has adopted the European Space Policy, which reflects the key strategic importance that space systems and space applications have for Europe, in order to live up to its global leadership aspirations in selected areas.

This Communication marks a milestone for the development of space policy in Europe providing a European identity to space. It is a joint policy document of the European Commission and the Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA). It will be presented for endorsement to the Space Council, a joint meeting of Competitiveness ministers and ESA-representatives from Member States, which will discuss the new policy on 22 May 2007.

More information and official documentation

European Space Policy: Key messages

The Communication on European Space Policy sets out orientations for

  • Coordinating better civil space programmes between ESA, EU and their respective Member States
  • Improving coordination and better exploiting synergies between civilian and military programmes
  • Developing and exploiting European space applications o Satellite navigation/Galileo o Earth observation/GMES (including the establishment of appropriate funding arrangements for its operational phase) o Satellite communications
  • Science and technological excellence * Preserving an autonomous EU access to space
  • Investing to maintain technological expertise as well as knowledge in space-based science and space exploration
  • Maintaining a competitive European space industry in the development and manufacturing of space systems and the provision of satellite capacity and value-added services
  • Assuring closer and more efficient co-operation between the Commission and ESA
  • Ensuring that space policy is coherent with and supports the EUís external relations

Background

In November 2003, an important step was taken to strengthen co-operation between the European Community and ESA with the adoption of the EC-ESA Framework Agreement. The accord laid the groundwork for joint projects, common management structures and a variety of other shared activities. The EC/ESA Framework Agreement followed the Green Paper and White Paper on European Space Policy, the result of one of the most extensive consultations ever conducted in the research and technology sector.

The Competitiveness Council of the EU and the Ministerial Council of ESA, meeting in June 2005 under the Framework Agreement as the ëSpace Councilí, responded by setting out guidance on the content and nature of the European Space Policy and the accompanying preliminary elements of a European Space Programme.

The situation

Space applications are of importance to a wide range of services and initiatives and are indispensable for understanding and overcoming global problems. In Europe, space is helping to achieve important domestic and international objectives, in areas such as transport, agriculture and fisheries. Environment policy, and, in particular, the response to climate change, is a key example.

On a more basic level, space-based applications and services allow the efficient functioning of todayís society. Satellites deliver live sports and news broadcasts, but also enable modern navigation systems, real-time financial transactions and emergency management, and guarantee the functioning of security services.

Simply stated, space is a strategic asset underpinning a high value-added industrial sector, a driver for the Lisbon process aimed at improving citizenís lives and contributing to the knowledge-based society. This is why Europe needs a competitive space industry, served by strong and long-term investment in new space technologies.

Contact

European Commission
Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General
Unit H2 ñ ëSpace Policy and Coordination Unití
B-1049 Brussels
Belgium
Fax: 00.32.2.2984349
E-mail

(Source EUROPA)



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