In its recent Press Release, the European Commission proposes a long-term EU Budget 2021-2027 devoting €16 billion for space activities.
We would like to welcome this important proposal by the European Commission. It will help consolidate the role of Europe in space and provide further impetus to space activities and their use in different sectors in Europe.
ESA is currently preparing its proposal for its 2019 Council at Ministerial level, which will constitute ESA’s contribution to realising the ESA and EU shared vision and goals for the future of Europe in space. ESA’s understanding is to continue to be “THE Space Agency of its Member States and for the EU”.
Over the past weeks, frequent interactions took place to come to a common understanding on the way forward for a long-term, strategic ESA–EU partnership, building on the successes so far: Galileo and EGNOS already provide world-class navigation services and Copernicus is the most complete Earth Observation system in the world.
These interactions covered the interests of all the different actors namely the EU/EC, ESA, and the Member States of both institutions. The basis of the discussions was the Lisbon Treaty, along with the ESA–EU Framework Agreement, the strategic positions of the EU and ESA, as well as the policy/regulatory leadership of the EU and the technological and programme implementation leadership of ESA in space. ESA and the EU share a vision and goals for the future of Europe in space, which were adopted through the signature of the related Joint Statement in October 2016.
Given the growing competition and change of paradigm in the industrial space sector, Europe needs more than ever to join forces to remain competitive, achieve autonomy in strategically relevant areas, and ensure safety and security and the provision of socio-economic benefits to citizens.
A first look at the proposed regulation shows that the EU-ESA Framework Agreement of 2004 has been fully taken into consideration.
ESA is ready to fulfil the foreseen activities to implement the EU space programme. A Financial Framework Partnership Agreement is foreseen between the EC and ESA, that provides for an implementation based on the most successful lessons learnt of the previous periods. The next step will be to define the details of this Partnership Agreement between the EC and ESA, which will be developed in full transparency, and with direct participation of the Member States.
The successor of the GSA will play an increased role for security accreditation and support the exploitation and market uptake of elements of the EU Space Programme in full complementarity to the ESA tasks.
We will reflect on the evolution of our decision processes, which the ESA Director General deems necessary to ease the implementation of the EU space programmes by ESA and the potential involvement of the EU in ESA optional programmes.
We will have a close look at the details of the Regulation and discuss the specific contents with ESA Member States.
“In conclusion about the relationship of ESA and EU,” says ESA Director General Jan Wörner, “I believe that we are on a very positive path to advance and strengthen our successful partnership. We are on track for United Space in Europe and for a United Europe in Space.”