Brussels, Belgium: European Union (EU) ministers in Brussels have voted Prague to be the headquarters of Galileo, European satellite navigation system that could rival the US government’s GPS.
In an interview with Czech television, Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas said, “This is very good news because this will bring the most advanced technologies to the Czech Republic.”
Galileo system was taken over by the EU in 2007 after the public-private partnership developing it collapsed. It is set to be operational by 2014. Several countries were vying to host the agency and in the final days Prague was competing against the Dutch town of Noordwijk to secure the agency’s headquarters.
The tasks to be fulfilled by the Prague-based agency will include security accreditation and the operation of the Galileo security centre, as well as the commercialisation of the European GNSS systems.
One of the goals of the USD 4.5 billion Galileo project is to give the EU independence from GPS. The only other satellite navigation tool for European consumers or governments is the Russian GLONASS system. Many in the EU have worried that being dependent on foreign governments for satellite navigation puts Europe in a militarily weak position.