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Commission proposes European space strategy

The European Commission has adopted a communication on a European space strategy, on the initiative of Commissioners Edith Cresson, Martin Bangemann and Neil Kinnock, responsible for research, telecommunications and transport.

The communication is designed to ensure that Euro...
The European Commission has adopted a communication on a European space strategy, on the initiative of Commissioners Edith Cresson, Martin Bangemann and Neil Kinnock, responsible for research, telecommunications and transport.

The communication is designed to ensure that European industry is not left behind in the important markets for new space applications such as satellite telecommunications, satellite navigation and earth observation. It calls for greater coordination between the various European bodies involved, including the EU, the European Space Agency (ESA), operating agencies such as EUMETSAT and EUROCONTROL, and the Member States and their national agencies.

In respect of space telecommunications, the Commission intends to put forward a proposal for an action plan for the regulation and development of satellite communications systems, based on public/private sector partnership.

The Commission aims to ensure that Europe plays a major role in the development of the new Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). This is intended to replace the existing US and Russian systems developed for military purposes.

As a major user of data services derived from remotely sensed data, the Commission intends to use its position to stimulate the development of new services and tools which could subsequently be implemented on a commercial basis.

In respect of launching services for satellites, the Commission proposes that a multilateral forum be set up to establish basic rules for open and fair competition. The aim of this is to ensure that the European launch service (Arianespace) is not disadvantaged by new competition from Russian, Ukrainian and Chinese operators.

The Commission is not calling for additional funding, since with improved coordination, existing resources including the RTD Framework Programme, the trans-European networks, ESA programmes and national resources can all be used. The Commission has established a Space Coordination Group within the Commission to increase dialogue with concerned parties. In particular, cooperation with the ESA and other agencies will be formalized and coordination with the relevant trade organizations will be increased.
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