The amended agreement, which was signed during an official ceremony at EUSPA’s Prague headquarters with Czech Republic Minister of Transport Martin Kupka, gives the agency the room and tools it needs to extend.
For the past 10 years, the EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA, and its predecessor GSA) has had its base in the Czech Republic.
Since then, both the EU Space Programme and the Czech Republic’s space sector have enjoyed continuous growth and development. For example, through various grants, Horizon calls and other funding mechanisms, EUSPA has provided - among other EU Member States - EUR 2.2 million to Czech start-ups, SMEs, enterprises and research initiatives – many of which are making a substantial contribution the EU’s robust space economy.
EUSPA took new responsibilities in the frame of the EU Space Programme, and with thus itself continues to grow. The Agency will expand to around 300 staff from EU countries by 2024, to which are added in-house consultants and service providers, working across its various sites.
The growth is driven by the new challenges the Agency faces – including the need for more space and advanced infrastructure, which is exactly what an amended host agreement between EUSPA and the Czech Republic provides.
"We have been working with the Czech authorities since day one and our relations have been excellent,” said EUSPA Executive Director Rodrigo da Costa. “This amended host agreement ensures that our home here in Prague aligns with our expanded mission and facilitates the ongoing growth of the EU Space Programme."
Da Costa made his remarks during an official signing ceremony held at EUSPA headquarters with Czech Minister of Transport Martin Kupka.
"The Czech government has been working with EUSPA to secure appropriate new premises for the agency and I believe we are well on our way to achieve this goal. Today, we are here to take a necessary step along this way, to sign an amendment to the Host Agreement, which will allow us to relocate the seat of the agency to another site in Prague," confirmed Minister Kupka.
The amended host agreement includes provisions for a new headquarters, more robust ICT capabilities and enhanced security facilities, along with additional office space to accommodate EUSPA’s forecasted growth.
The amendment follows a Memorandum of Understanding signed by EUSPA and the Czech government in April 2021, which was subsequently approved by the EUSPA Administrative Board in October 2021. Outside these amendments, all other conditions of the host agreement remain unchanged, including the provision that EUSPA cover 25% of local commercial leasing costs.
“Prague offers a high quality of living, access to a skilled talent pool and great connections to the rest of Europe, making it a truly European city fit to host an EU agency,” added da Costa. “We look forward to developing our presence in continuing to call this vibrant city home and, together with the Ministry of Transport, contributing to growing the EU Space Programme and the European space economy.”
The signing ceremony was also an opportunity for Minister Kupka to discuss several future initiatives, including the Czech Republic’s upcoming EU Presidency and its hosting of the 2022 EU Space Week.
In addition to its Prague headquarters, EUSPA has operations in France, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Belgium.
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