In a vote on 17 April 2019, the European Parliament endorsed a provisional agreement reached by co-legislators on the EU Space Programme for the 2021-2027 budget period. The agreement passed by a large majority, with 560 votes in favour, 63 against and 32 abstentions.
In June 2018, the European Commission proposed the new EUR 16-billion EU Space Programme to help maintain and further enhance the EU's leadership in space. The Commission's proposal brings all existing and new space activities under the umbrella of a single programme and will foster a strong and innovative space industry in Europe.
Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, welcomed the vote. “Space technology, data and services have become indispensable in the daily lives of Europeans and for Europe to pursue its strategic interests. We therefore need to ensure continuity and financial stability in our space activities,” she said.
“The new EU Space Programme will not only do that, but also address global challenges, such as fighting climate change, a transition to a low-carbon economy, smart mobility and digital economy,” the Commissioner said, adding that more would be invested in space activities to adapt to new needs and technologies, while reinforcing Europe's autonomous and secure access to space.
Benefitting Europe’s economy and citizens
European GNSS Agency (GSA) Executive Director Carlo des Dorides also welcomed the European Parliament vote. “With this vote the European Parliament has given a clear message about the importance of the space sector for the European economy and a sign of trust towards the GSA. The Space Programme for the next budget period will provide continuity of investment in space, ensuring that the EU continues to lead the way in space-based innovation,” he said.
“At the GSA we remain committed to ensuring that every euro invested in space delivers the greatest possible return in terms of benefits for Europe’s economy and its citizens. We are ready to make available the invaluable experience gained over the years with EGNOS and Galileo to other new EU space programmes,” des Dorides said.
Commissioner Bieńkowska also highlighted the importance of space for the European economy. “Europe's space industry is the second largest in the world, and its space-enabled services fuel a steadily increasing 6-9% of our economy. The EU Space Programme will be key to keep this trend going,” she said.
The Commissioner cited Copernicus and Galileo as “two successful EU space programmes that already improve the lives of citizens and business in Europe and beyond,” adding that, with its vote, the European Parliament had sent a clear signal to the space sector that these flagship projects would continue to prosper and evolve towards new services.
“With the new Space Programme we also introduce new security-related space initiatives: space and situational awareness (SSA) and Governmental Satellite Communication (GOVSATCOM). We will also put the European space sector in a better position to react to the ongoing changes the space sector is undergoing worldwide,” she said, adding: “In particular, we will support a European ‘New Space' approach with innovative start-ups, reliable and cost-effective European launch solutions and increased European technological autonomy.”
“Space matters for Europe,” the Commissioner said.
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