Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton visited the headquarters of the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) in Prague on May 24, to speak about the future of the European Space Programme and the role of the newly formed Agency in delivering it.
Commissioner Breton was welcomed by the Executive Director Rodrigo da Costa to the EUSPA headquarters where he delivered a speech before EUSPA staff, the Administrative Board members and Security Accreditation Board members emphasizing on the evolution of the EU Space Programme and the crucial role the Agency is set to play.
The Commissioner noted that a visit to the EUSPA headquarters in Prague had been high on his agenda since he took up office but, unfortunately, this had not been possible due to Coronavirus travel restrictions. However, he said that the present moment was an excellent time for his visit, as the Agency had just entered a new era, by becoming the EU Agency for the Space Programme.
A new era for the EU in space
“This is the moment we have all been waiting for. Finally, the Space Programme Regulation has entered into force, and we have now the framework that we need for our great ambitions in space. I know that the Agency has been ready in the starting blocks for quite a while to kick off with its new profile and extended tasks. This shows the professionalism with which you have prepared for this new time,” the Commissioner said.
Breton noted that the new Agency would be able to build on the excellent work it had carried out in the past as the GSA. “In the past, you have done a great job on Galileo and EGNOS, with your activities on market development, security and operations. The fact that the Agency is now tasked to extend such activities to other components of the Space Programme, like Copernicus, GOVSATCOM, SST etc. shows the appreciation of the Agency’s work until now,” he said.
A balanced deal
The Commissioner also spoke about governance of the programme. “We have had constructive negotiations on the Framework Financial Partnership Agreement (FFPA). This was very important, because when several players – the Commission, EUSPA, ESA – work together in a programme, it is crucial to define well the division of tasks and how the collaboration is organised,” he said.
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In turn, the EUSPA Executive Director highlighted that EUSPA was ready to achieve Space Programme priorities and to deliver on the promise of space for the European Union. “Exploitation and 24/7 operations; security, downstream; innovation: these are key areas for the EU Space Programme today, and for its evolution. Moreover, these are our EUSPA key competencies. In a nutshell, we are ready to play a central role in achieving the ambitions of the Union for Space,” he said.
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