EU space policy contributes strongly to a European identity

MEPs adopted (443 in favour 65 against and 16 abstentions) a resolution on European space policy: how to bring space down to earth, which stresses the importance of developing a space-related industrial policy as a means of ensuring Europe’s political, technological and operational autonomy. MEPs welcome the Council commitment to the development of a European space policy (ESP) as if the draft Lisbon Treaty was in force because it “contributes strongly to a European identity”.
MEPs agree that current priorities are the timely implementation of the Galileo and EGNOS and GMES or Copernicus programmes.

Regulatory framework a crucial element of the ESP

A crucial element of the ESP policy is “the regulatory framework and the standardisation programme which contributes to the emergence of new European downstream markets”, says the resolution. It also recalls that the Galileo Regulation sets a benchmark for the involvement of SMEs.

Parliament asks that the Commission and the Council set a precise calendar for the creation of an efficient governance structure regarding the GMES/Copernicus programme and to clearly establish a roadmap for this programme with the aim of improving its efficiency and specifying its budget allocation.

Financing ESP

In order to reflect the strong commitment of the EU towards the ESP, Parliament urges that consideration be given to a possible new specific budget line for the ESP in the EU budget and to increase the clarity and transparency of this policy, should the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty relating to space policy enter into force.

MEPs also call on the Commission and EU members to promote investments in space-related science and technology.

Space to be used for non-military purposes only

Synergies between civilian and security developments in the field of space should be encouraged since the European security capabilities depend on, among other things, the availability of satellite-based systems. Access to these is crucial for the European Union, say MEPs.

However, Parliament emphasises that the use of space must serve exclusively non-military purposes, rejecting any direct or indirect military use. As such, uses made of Galileo, EGNOS and GMES by any military users must be consistent the principle that these are “civilian systems under civilian control”.
Space tourism

With regard to space tourism, Parliament calls on the Commission to produce a study on both the impact of this activity and on a relevant safety, security and regulatory framework. Similarly, necessary measures must be taken to avoid pollution of outer space.

Space exploration inspires young Europeans

MEPs consider that Europe should develop a common vision and long-term strategic planning for human and robotic space exploration, including the possibility of a human expedition to Mars.

The resolution concludes by stressing the value of space exploration for inspiring young Europeans to choose a career in science and technology and for strengthening research capabilities in Europe.

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Author: EARSC

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