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Satellite communications - Commissioners meet with European Ministers and industry representatives

On 10 October 1996, Mr. Martin Bangemann, European Commissioner responsible for industrial relations, information technologies and telecommunications, and Mrs. Edith Cresson, Commissioner responsible for science, research and training, held an informal meeting, in Paris, with ...
On 10 October 1996, Mr. Martin Bangemann, European Commissioner responsible for industrial relations, information technologies and telecommunications, and Mrs. Edith Cresson, Commissioner responsible for science, research and training, held an informal meeting, in Paris, with European Ministers responsible for satellite communications and representatives from the space industry.

Awareness of the growing role of satellite communications in the global information society and, in particular, the emergence of the high-capacity Low Earth Orbit (LEO) systems, led the Commission to propose, in November 1995, Community action in the area of satellite personal communication services. The Council reached a common position on this proposal on 27 September 1996.

The objectives of Community action shall be to ensure, within a period of three years:

- Selection of satellite PCS space segment operators;
- The adoption of common conditions to be attached to authorizations for satellite PCS space segment operators;
- Harmonization of conditions for authorizations;
- The establishment of a dialogue and, where appropriate, negotiations between the EU and third countries with the aim of establishing international cooperation in order to promote development of satellite personal communications services and remove the obstacles to their development.

The Paris meeting was organized, at the initiative of the two Commissioners, in order to provide an opportunity for frank discussion of the strategic options facing the European Union at a time when European space policy is still in its formative stage. With this in mind, participants addressed the principal industrial, technological and regulatory questions affecting this strategic sector with the aim of developing a proactive and coordinated approach.

Speaking at the meeting, Mrs. Cresson stressed the political importance of this issue, not yet sufficiently recognized in Europe: "In contrast to the situation in the United States, where the American administration has put all its weight behind its industry on both a regulatory and technical level, in Europe this question has not yet been placed high enough on the political agenda".

The four main issues addressed at the meeting were: the definition of future European policy with regard to satellites; the definition of research priorities; the definition of a common European position for the allocation of frequencies; the mobilization of private resources for investment in this sector.
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