Space: A European priority

Space: Supporting Europe’s strategic priorities

The European Union’s Space Programme is a priority in its own right, guaranteeing Europe’s strategic independence in an increasingly volatile world and establishing the European Union as a global space power. But Europe’s investment in space goes beyond this. Europe’s satellite navigation and positioning programmes Galileo and EGNOS and the Earth observation programme Copernicus are drivers of European innovation, and the services and applications that they enable support Europe’s economic growth and help the European Union achieve its key priorities for Europe.

A European Green Deal

The European Green Deal aims to make the EU's economy sustainable by turning climate and environmental challenges into opportunities to boost innovation and growth. As a driver of transformative change, the EU Space Programme enables innovative solutions that promote sustainable economic growth that depends less on resource use. In our cities, on our roads, on the seas and in farms across Europe, Galileo, Copernicus and EGNOS enable innovative applications and services that increase operational efficiency and help make Europe greener.

A Europe fit for the digital age

Europe’s Space Programme plays an essential role in keeping Europe connected. Galileo standard time serves as the reference for telecom networks and financial transactions, and GNSS-powered location-based services create endless new possibilities for injecting extremely accurate timing and positioning data into the digital transformation. Copernicus produces huge amounts of data that are relevant for decision makers, private and public. These data are transformed into insights that build the ground for such decisions. Digitisation is essential in this process. With the increasing connectivity of the Internet of Things and advances in autonomous driving, GNSS and Earth observation will continue to play a vital role in the development of Europe’s Digital Single Market. 

An economy that works for people

Global downstream market revenue from GNSS devices and services is forecast to grow from EUR 150 billion in 2019 to EUR 325 billion in 2029. Europe’s Galileo and EGNOS programmes ensure that all Europeans are able to benefit from this exciting development. By boosting innovation, the EU Space Programme creates high-skilled jobs in the EU and improves the day-to-day lives of Europeans by supporting innovative companies and accelerating the development of new applications that use European global navigation satellite systems and Earth observation data.

A stronger Europe in the world

The European Space Programme was developed to give Europe strategic autonomy in space and to give the European Union an equal footing on the global stage with other space powers. Having its own navigation and positioning capability increases Europe’s prestige and allows all EU citizens to benefit freely from Europe’s investment in space. Moreover, satellite imagery provided by the Copernicus programme and the precise positioning offered by Galileo and EGNOS allow Europe to play a leading role in global disaster relief, climate action and development projects. Finally, the European Union Governmental Satellite Communications (GOVSATCOM) programme will provide the secure satellite communications needed for Europe’s defence and security and will support humanitarian and emergency response and diplomatic communications.

Promoting our European way of life

Unlike other GNSS systems, Galileo is a civilian programme under civil control, its ‘raison d'être’ is to improve the lives of Europeans. The same is true for Copernicus. The EU Space Programme provides services to protect Europe’s borders, as well as to manage and respond to disasters and crises. Earth observation and GNSS positioning enable projects that protect Europe from terrorism and organised crime, protecting the citizens of the EU and making Europe a safer place to live and do business. GOVSATCOM, providing secure communications means for Member States, will also play a key role in making the Union more secure.

A new push for European democracy

Europe’s space programmes are helping to usher in a new era of democratic involvement. From real-time voting via your smartphone to enabling crowd-sourced petitioning, Galileo, EGNOS and Copernicus are empowering European citizens to become more directly involved in the democratic decision-making process.

Space services are also central to Europe’s resilience and recovery plans, leading to NextGenerationEU. EU Space has a key role to play in mitigating the economic and social impact of the coronavirus pandemic and making European economies and societies more sustainable, resilient and better prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the green and digital transitions.

Updated: May 07, 2021