January 1st not only marks the start of a New Year, it’s also the start of the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union. “Sweden is taking over the Presidency at a time when the European Union is facing unprecedented challenges,” says Prime Minister of Sweden Ulf Kristersson. “A greener, more secure and freer Europe is the foundation of our priorities.”
Those priorities include security, competitiveness, the green and energy transitions, democratic values and the rule of law – each of which stand to benefit from the EU Space Programme.
Priority 1: security
Access to space is vital for the autonomy and sovereignty of the European Union. Since its first venture into satellite navigation with EGNOS in 2011, the Union’s space programme has been growing stronger with the addition of Copernicus in 2014 and Galileo in 2016. Soon, the EU will expand into satellite communications with GOVSATCOM and IRIS2.
Each of these components contributes to– or will do so in the near future– the security of our continent’s citizens.
For instance, unique features of Galileo will give an extra layer of security to governmental authorised users and sensitive applications that require high signal continuity like police operations.
Thanks to the Copernicus service for Security, national authorities can improve crisis prevention, preparedness and response in areas like border and maritime surveillance. Coupled with the Emergency Management of Copernicus, the Union can better address the management of natural disasters, man-made emergency situations and humanitarian crises with timely and accurate geo-spatial information derived from satellite remote sensing and completed by available in situ or open data sources.
GOVSATCOM will ensure the long-term availability of reliable, secured and cost-effective satellite communication (satcom) services for governmental users. The initiative will benefit a broad range of EU and national entities in their day-to-day operations and contribute to the security and safety of all EU citizens. Likewise, the newly announced IRIS2 constellation will provide secure communication services to the EU and its Member States as well as broadband connectivity for European citizens and private companies.
Priority 2: competitiveness
EU Space is a key enabler of European competitiveness. According to the EUSPA EO and GNSS Market Report 2022, the global GNSS downstream market is forecasted to see revenues reach EUR 510 billion by 2032. The downstream market also includes an Earth Observation sector expected to double its revenues, from approximately EUR 2.8 billion to over EUR 5.5 billion within the next decade. Add these figures up and what you get is a clear opportunity for European companies to compete in the global market.
To help businesses leverage this opportunity, EUSPA serves as the go-to-source for all things EU Space, providing the information, expertise and market intelligence companies need in order to successfully integrate European space solutions into the applications, devices and services we all use on a daily basis.
Priority 3: the green and energy transitions
The EU Space Programme is set to play a key role in Europe’s green and energy transitions, which requires that companies take a deep look at their internal operations and surrounding supply chain to understand where and how pollution and waste occur.
From renewable energy generation and distribution to industrial waste management, wildlife monitoring, urban planning and fleet management, Copernicus and Galileo offer a host of independent, as well as synergistic, services to aid companies along their sustainability journeys and support them in greening their operations.
The Copernicus Climate Service (C3S) for instance has developed applications that demonstrate how climate data can be used. Such applications provide information for the renewable energy sector to understand information such as future supply and demand or wind speeds. They also help coastal areas understand and prepare for future storm surges.
Likewise, the use of GNSS data by Galileo/EGNOS are key to minimizing the environmental footprint of the agriculture sector by helping farmers cut down their emissions thanks to more precise and optimised tractor routes.
Priority 4: democratic values and the rule of law
EU Space supports European autonomy and independence – both of which are critical for ensuring our democratic values are upheld and the protection of the rule of law. For example, prior to the launch of Galileo, Europeans had to depend on foreign operated GNSS systems. With Galileo, users now have a reliable alternative that, unlike other programmes, remains under civil control.
Satellite positioning is an important and essential service that we often take for granted. Just think what would happen if GNSS signals were suddenly switched off. Truck and taxi drivers, ship and aircraft crews and people across Europe would suddenly be lost. Furthermore, governments, democratic institutions, financial and communication activities, public utilities, security and humanitarian operations, and emergency services would all come to a standstill. With the addition of Galileo, we have significantly minimised these risks.
The EU Space Programme was conceived with the core aim to benefit end users be it citizens, governments or businesses. Therefore, the vast majority of data and information delivered by Copernicus, Galileo and EGNOS is made available and accessible on a free, full and open basis.
EUSPA to support Swedish Presidency to deliver on its priorities
Sweden takes over the rotating Council Presidency from the Czech Republic and over the course of the next six months will chair meetings at every level in the Council, helping ensure the continuity of the EU's work in the Council.
“EUSPA looks forward to supporting the Swedish Presidency deliver on its priorities,” says EUSPA Executive Director Rodrigo da Costa. “By fostering the development of an innovative, competitive and independent space sector, EU Space contributes to such key priorities as the green and energy transformation and provides for the safety and security of the Union and its citizens – all while reinforcing the EU’s autonomy, resilience and democratic principles.”
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