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
Increase synergy between civil and defence space programs and
technologies, and in particular interoperability of civil/defence
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.