Belgium: Now member countries of European Union may get open access to all satellite data, except security sensitive data. This provision was added by the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE). Recently, the committee has approved the European Parliament’s final draft report on the European Commission proposal for a regulation on Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme and its initial operations 2011–2013. As a next step in the co-decision procedure, the vote by the whole Parliament on the final draft report is scheduled for 16 June 2010.
The Commission proposal provides a legal basis for the governance of the programme and an additional EU funding of EUR107 million for the 3-year initial operations phase of GMES, supplemented with EUR209 million from the space theme of the Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7) for accompanying research actions. The GMES programme should be fully operational by 2014. The European Space Agency (ESA) will be responsible for technical co-ordination and implementation.
In the Council of Ministers, the draft regulation was negotiated within the Research Working Party, which achieved a large measure of agreement on the text, in order to enable a first reading agreement in the co-decision procedure. A few days later, an informal consultation was organised between representatives of the Presidency of the Council, the European Parliament’s ITRE Committee and the Commission. This led to the production of a compromise text, which was endorsed by the Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER). At the occasion of the Competitiveness Council meeting, Ministers took note of a presidency progress report on the draft regulation.
In the European Parliament the draft report on the proposed GMES regulation and initial operations 2011–2013 was unanimously approved by the ITRE committee, with MEP rapporteur Norbert Glante (S&D, Germany). The committees on Budgets (BUDG) and Environment (ENVI) gave opinion on this draft report, with MEPs in charge respectively Damien Abad (PPE, France) and Vittorio Prodi (S&D, Italy). The adopted final draft contains the compromise text as agreed by the COREPER.
In the adopted text MEPs of the ITRE committee included the provision of open access to data gathered by satellite. According to this provision all information, except for security sensitive data, will be fully and openly accessible through a free-of-charge licensing and online access scheme. The open access should thus maximise benefits for the widest possible range of applications and foster a downstream market for which small and medium-sized software companies can develop new applications.