Space programme in focus at Brussels meetings

18 November 2019
Europe’s strong and innovative space industry supports economic growth, benefitting European citizens.
Europe’s strong and innovative space industry supports economic growth, benefitting European citizens.

The European Space Programme was very much in focus at two meetings in Brussels at the start of November. The first, on 5 November, was a meeting of the European Council’s Space Working Party, dealing with space solutions for a sustainable Arctic, while the second, on 6 November, dealt with European space policy – perspectives for business. At both meetings, the invaluable contribution of EGNSS (Galileo and EGNOS) was underscored.

At the 5 November meeting, the discussion held under the Finnish Presidency of the EU highlighted how EGNSS can support its priorities, such as strengthening the EU’s position as a  global leader in climate action, and making the EU more competitive and socially inclusive.

Speaking at the meeting, European GNSS Agency (GSA) Chief Operating Officer Pascal Claudel highlighted achievements on the GNSS market and how EGNSS can contribute to the goals set by the Finnish Presidency by supporting the transition to a low-carbon and circular economy and underpinning the development of smart mobility and smart cities solutions. “Developing the user market and meeting the needs of all market segments through innovative solutions, applications and receivers is a major mission of the GSA,” he said.

Another priority for the Finnish Presidency is to comprehensively protect the security of European citizens. Here too, EGNSS is making a critical contribution, providing high-precision robust timing and synchronization solutions for critical infrastructure, such as energy and telecoms networks and the banking and finance sector. Galileo and EGNOS also support key services in the area of public safety, such as the E112 and eCall emergency response services.

Read this: Space – underpinning the blue economy

The GSA COO stressed that the Agency is ready to provide skills and know-how for the development of innovative solutions, adding that other stakeholders can also contribute to the development of space-driven solutions. “The downstream sector does not require highly specific knowledge of space technology, so SMEs and the industries of EU Member States without a space heritage can participate,” he said.

Perspectives for business

The second event – a seminar on European Space Policy - perspectives for business, was held in the Permanent Representation of Poland to the EU. This event provided an opportunity to debate European space policy and the benefits of developing the space industry, including supporting European competitiveness.

Participants in the seminar discussed Europe’s strong and innovative space industry, citing examples from successful Polish companies, and heard about possibilities emerging from the new EU Space Programme and from synergies in space topics in the research, investment and defence domains (H2020, Horizon Europe, InvestEU, Defence Fund).

Fostering innovative solutions

At the seminar, Claudel highlighted the economic significance of EGNSS. “About 10% of European GDP relies on satellite navigation services and Europe will receive EUR 60 billion in revenue by 2027 thanks to Galileo and EGNOS,” Claudel said. He said that the GSA was fostering innovative solutions and supporting the competitiveness of European companies through Horizon 2020 and the Fundamental Elements financing mechanism.

And this: Final EGNSS calls open under Horizon 2020

Claudel noted that the economic benefits of space would be magnified even further by the opening up of new markets for non-space SMEs, adding that for European citizens to reap the greatest benefit from EU investment in space, there would need to be strong political leadership and a long-term vision for the EU space programme. He said that this would come with the setting up of the new EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA).

“With the new regulation, it will be possible to exploit the strong synergies that exist between Galileo, Copernicus and Govsatcom, in addition to three-dimensional ‘navigation-imagery-telecom’ synergies, allowing you to know where you are, what is around you and how to connect with everyone,” he said.

He also noted the need to involve all actors at EU level in the creation of market opportunities and to promote the use of Galileo, EGNOS and Copernicus data and services. Citing the eCall emergency response system as a precedent, he said that it is necessary to foster the use of EU space data as the reference in Europe.

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Updated: Nov 18, 2019