Belgium: The European (EU) published its proposal pertaining to a new space policy. It is a first step of an integrated Space Policy 2011, to be developed with a new legal basis provided by the Lisbon Treaty. The main strategic principles of the upcoming policy will include independence, competitiveness and improved quality of life.
The Commission will pursue the dialogue with its key partners US and Russia and will initiate discussion with other space faring nations such as China in order to develop more synergies. EU’s press statement stated, “Space should become an integral part of the EU’s external policy in particular to the benefit of Africa.”
The Commission is looking into the possibility of presenting a proposal for a European space programme in 2011. Taking responses to this communication into account, it will decide on its approach as part of its June proposal on the next multi-annual financial framework.
According to the EU’s view, priorities for the future EU space policy include:
– Pursue the achievement of the European navigation satellite programmes Galileo and EGNOS. For example, a service that was recently introduced under EGNOS enables precision approaches and renders air navigation safer.
– Implement with Member States the European Earth Monitoring Programme (GMES) which is designed for land, ocean, atmosphere, air quality and climate change monitoring, as well as emergency response and security, with the objective to become fully operational from 2014.
– Protect space infrastructures against space debris, solar radiation and asteroids by setting-up a European Space Situation Awareness (SSA) system.
– Identify and support actions at EU level in the field of Space exploration. The could notably explore options to work with the ISS ensuring that all Member States participate in it.
– Pursue a Space Industrial policy developed in close collaboration with the European Space Agency and Member States.
– Support research and development to increase European technological non dependence and ensure that innovation in this field will be of benefit to non-space sectors and citizens. Communication satellites play a key role in this context.
– Strengthen the partnerships with EU Member States and the European Space Agency (ESA) and implement improved management schemes.
The new Communication aims at reinforcing Europe’s space infrastructure and calls for increasing support for research to increase European technological non-dependence, foster cross-fertilisation between the space sector and other industry sectors, and boost innovation as a driver of European competitiveness.
Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said: “Space is strategic for Europe’s independence, job creation and competitiveness. Space activities create high-skilled jobs, innovation, new commercial opportunities, and improve citizens’ well-being and security. This is why we need to reinforce European space policy to best exploit its social and economic opportunities for industry and SMEs. In order to achieve our goals, Europe needs to keep an independent access to space.”