A new era of European cooperation in space was secured on 25 November with the signature of a framework agreement between the EU and the European Space Agency (ESA). The agreement, which sets out the priorities and principles of EU-ESA cooperation, was signed in Brussels by Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin, ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain, and Italian Minister for Education, Universities and Research, Letizia Moratti. 'This agreement represents a milestone for Europe as it opens the way to a new era for Europe as a true space power,' said Mr Busquin. 'Our two institutions are committed to a common future with common goals and this can only mean a better future for European citizens.' The agreement's guiding principles include securing Europe's independent access to space for the use and application of space technologies, ensuring that space activities support the EU's wider policies, and creating greater synergy between European space stakeholders. The eight fields of cooperation foreseen under the framework agreement are: science; technology; earth observation; navigation; communication by satellite; human space flight and micro gravity; launchers; and spectrum policy related to space. The first joint initiatives to be undertaken by the EU and ESA could include the launch of the development phase of global monitoring for environment and security (GMES), the development of satellite solutions to overcome the digital divide in Europe, and facilitating use of the international space station by European industry and research centres.