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EU alone should fund Galileo, say MEPs

MEPs say that Galileo, the European programme of satellite radio-navigation, should be funded entirely from the European Union budget. Galileo is a joint EU-European Space Agency (ESA) initiative, and was to be financed through a public-private partnership. However, following...

MEPs say that Galileo, the European programme of satellite radio-navigation, should be funded entirely from the European Union budget. Galileo is a joint EU-European Space Agency (ESA) initiative, and was to be financed through a public-private partnership. However, following the failure of companies in the Galileo consortium to agree on how to share the financial risks, it was suggested that public funds alone should be used to finance the programme. It is estimated that it will cost €3.4 billion to build Galileo's initial structure. With €1 billion already in the kitty, the search is now on to find the remaining funds. In its roadmap (published in May), the European Commission said it was exploring the possibility of securing these funds from the Community budget or from Member States. But MEPs say they are against using intergovernmental funds to fill the financial gap, created following the failure of the public-private partnership. In a resolution adopted on 20 June, they said that they would 'oppose any solution which would combine Community funding with additional intergovernmental funding'. Instead, MEPs backed using the EU's budget to fund the Galileo programme, and called on the European Commission to submit a revised financial framework for the programme, to be agreed upon by Parliament and the Council through the co-decision procedure.

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