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Fri, Apr 27, 2007

ESA Pushes For Comprehensive European Space Policy

Proposal Come Up For Discussion In May

In a conference Thursday in Brussels, European policymakers stressed space is a strategic asset... which Europe must exploit more effectively. They said Europe cannot afford to lose out when it comes to securing the economic and societal benefits of space for its citizens. The European Space Policy will soon give Europe a comprehensive tool with which to widen its foothold in space activities.

The College of European Commissioners in Brussels adopted a document, a Communication on the European Space Policy which has been jointly drafted by the European Commission and the European Space Agency's Director General.

Over the past two years, the two organizations have been working on establishing a comprehensive political framework for the development and exploitation of space technologies and systems, on the basis of which individual investment decisions can be taken to maximize the benefits to be derived from space. As a next step, the European Space Policy will be presented by ESA's Director General as a proposal at the next delegate-level meeting of ESA's ruling Council on May 9.

Commenting on the adoption of the Communication, Commission Vice-President Gunter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industry policy, said: "Space is strategic for our future. It gives us the tools to address many challenges of the 21st Century. Space systems and satellites are key assets in assessing global problems and helping us overcome them. Space also contributes significantly to our daily life."

"For over thirty years, the European Space Agency has been successfully developing space systems and infrastructures," said ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain. "We are eager to consolidate this success story in responding to the new challenges of the European Space Policy and in working with the European Commission to develop the application of space systems in support of Europe's policies."

The Communication on the European Space Policy aims to:

  • Foster better coordination of civil space programs between the EU, ESA and their respective Member States to ensure value for money and eliminate unnecessary duplication, thus meeting shared European needs,
  • Increase synergy between civil and defence space programs and technologies, and in particular interoperability of civil/defence systems,
  • Ensure sustainable funding for space applications, in particular the flagship initiative Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES),
  • Ensure that space policy is consistent with, and supports, the EU's external relations. The EU, ESA and their Member States will put in place a coordination mechanism to develop a joint strategy for international relations.

It is hoped the proposal will be tabled for endorsement by Ministers in Brussels on May 22, at the 4th Space Council.

FMI: www.esa.int

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