The space topic has been a key focus of the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union Council, with the EU Space Programme regulation publication. Portugal is now handing over the baton to Slovenia, which has already set the space priorities for its Presidency.
Space is playing an increasingly important role in the priorities of the European Council Presidencies, and space featured prominently on the Portuguese Presidency’s agenda. At the New Space Atlantic Summit, which took place on 8 June, the Portuguese Presidency marked the launch of the European Union’s Space Programme and looked at the impact of New Space on European productivity and competitiveness.
The summit focused on the development of New Space, including the use of space technology and applications in non-space sectors and to support public policies. At the summit opening session, European Union Agency for the Space programme (EUSPA) Executive Director Rodrigo da Costa outlined EUSPA’s role as the key actor in the European Union’s New Space approach.
EUSPA also participated in other Portuguese Presidency space-related events, like the Africa-Europe Earth Observation Forum, where EUSPA representatives gave inputs on how space can boost entrepreneurship in Africa and strengthen European-African cooperation; and the Portugal-Czech Republic Economic Forum, and Aviation Day which, inter alia, looked at the role of space in Europe’s recovery and its green and digital future.
The key areas of focus of the upcoming Slovenian Presidency of the EU Council in the area of space are space traffic management, bringing the benefits of space to everyone, and space-based secure connectivity. With its goal of linking space to user needs and expanded mandate to include the GOVSATCOM secure communications programme and Space Situational Awareness (SSA), EUSPA looks forward to working with the Slovenian Presidency on these topics.
Slovenia and space
EU Member States, including Slovenia, understand the potential of space-enabled services to address challenges, drive innovation and enhance competitiveness. Slovenian start-ups are realizing more and more the added-value EUSpace can bring to their operations. Several of them have benefitted from EUSPA support in getting their space-based applications to the market. For example, the first-prize winner in Track 1 (from idea to prototype) of this year’s MyGalileoSolution competition was the Slovenian project VisionAnchor the world's first video anchor monitoring system for boats.
The Slovenian Presidency of the Council has several EUSpace initiatives in its agenda, including awareness raising-events which will take place either online or physically addressing topics such as “Space for Green and Digital Recovery” and the “Secure Connectivity Initiative”.
“Slovenia believes that also small nations and SMEs can play a very significant role in Space, working hand in hand with big Space faring nations. Our goal during the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU is to bring space closer to everyone, including citizens and SMEs,” commented Tanja Permozer from the Slovenian Ministry of economic development and technology, responsible for Space, Directorate for internationalisation on behalf of the Slovenian Presidency.
What’s more, Slovenia is set to host the upcoming CASSINI hackathons initiated by the European Commission to tackle global challenges using European space technologies. In the first hackathon in the series, participants will use Copernicus Earth observation data, together with positioning technologies from Galileo and EGNOS, in an effort to digitise Europe’s green spaces.
Supporting EU priorities
The EU Space Programme is a joint effort and asset of all the European Union Member States. EUSPA is working to ensure that the Space Programme delivers the services and applications needed to support key EU policies.
From the European Green Deal to digitisation or an economy that works for people, Galileo, EGNOS and Copernicus are driving innovation and enabling services and applications that support Europe’s economic growth and the EU’s key priorities for Europe. See here for more info on how space is supporting EU policy.
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