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Fifth annual conference on EU space policy


28 Jan 2013 23:00 to 29 Jan 2013 23:00



Event Type

L - Conference, forum


Science & Policymaking

Event Location


Event Description

oes the European Union remain committed, as it set out for itself in the Lisbon Treaty, to provide itself with a space policy that meets the ambitions and the challenges of the 21st century? Is it genuinely prepared to quickly put in place the sort of industrial, R&D and commercial policies that appear indispensible for a continued access to space and the autonomy of its programmes and projects? Will the 27 Member States mobilise the financial resources that will be required over the course of the coming years as a result of the long-term choices that are necessitated by this ambitious strategy?

So many key questions are at stake; and they will be at the heart of the Fifth Annual Conference on EU Space Policy, to which we have the honour of inviting you.

This fifth edition has been established under the patronage of the President of the European Commission, Mr José Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Council, Mr Herman Van Rompuy, and the President of the European Parliament, Mr. Martin Schulz. It will also benefit from the support and the participation of the Vice-President of the European Commission, Mr Antonio Tajani, the Director-General of the European Space Agency, Mr Jean-Jacques Dordain, and presidents and CEOs of large-scale businesses and organisation operating within the space sector.

Global positioning and satellite navigation systems, as well as space-based telecommunications systems and earth, ocean and atmosphere observation and surveillance, know no frontier other than those imposed by their own technological limits.

For this reason, this conference will be opened by focussing in particular on the global dimension of space policies from around the world, and thus the considerable responsibility that lies with the EU in contributing to providing all of humanity with the space-based tools that are indispensable to its environment, security and, indeed, survival.

The European Union is now already engaged, with the collaboration of ESA, in three space programmes – EGNOS, Galileo and GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) – whose strategic importance for the EU’s role in world affairs is matched only by the now-recognised essential character of the services offered to the daily lives of citizens, and the day-to-day of public services and businesses. This includes in terms of the protection of the environment, mobility, support for agriculture, improving industrial performance, innovative telecommunications, meteorology, managing humanitarian crises and natural and man-made disasters, etc. This is without mentioning an aspect on which, nowadays, particular emphasis is being placed: restoring growth and the creation of employment by strengthening the competitiveness of industry and the creation of new businesses.

It is therefore absolutely crucial for the European Union and its Member States, in concert with ESA, to take, without delay, the necessary political, legal and technical decisions. They need also, imperatively, to mobilise the necessary financial resources in order to ensure independent access to space, complete the space systems currently being developed or planned, and promote R&D and the development of innovative space services and applications. These necessities are only reinforced by the world of “global competition” that we inhabit, where fair competition at the international level is far from being a reality.

For this reason, two sessions of this 2013 conference will be dedicated to the two pillars on which EU space policy necessarily has to rely: an appropriate industrial policy, and a research and innovation policy that is both ambitious and tailored to the specificities of the space sector.

With regard to industrial policy, representatives from the Commission will be asked to comment on the Communication which, by the time of the conference, may well have been adopted, or at least to outline its principal elements in as precise a manner as possible: legislative and regulatory framework, public procurement, standardisation, trade reciprocity, data protection, financing, etc., in order for officials from other EU institutions, from ESA and from other European organisations, as well as representatives from industry and user-groups, to be able to provide their comments and raise any questions.

As regarding R&D and innovation, this will certainly be an opportune moment to take stock of the future European programme for 2014-2020, entitled “Horizon 2020”, and in particular the funding package of 1.4 billion euros (in constant prices) proposed by the Commission for the space sector. The opportunity will thus be given to other participants, such as representatives of the European Parliament, ESA and business, to comment on and to criticise the choices that may be made.

This political gathering will also allow us, during the third session, to examine with the Commission and ESA the current state of the Galileo programme, the development of EGNOS, the future of the GMES programme, the state of play regarding the ESSP project, the outlines of data management policy, and, finally, the future European system for space surveillance and security. It is a list of prospective issues that we will be addressing, in particular, in light of the results of the negotiations underway for the establishment of a new Multiannual Financial Framework for 2014-2020.

How, by whom and within which framework should these different space programmes and initiatives be managed? A governance framework has already largely been identified, and the Fourth Session will thus provide the opportunity for an assessment of the results of the discussions that have taken place between the Council of the EU, the Commission and the European Space Agency, and to see whether – and what type of – a coherent and effective framework is being formed.

The governance of Europe’s space policy is more important an issue today than ever, given the now-acknowledged dual use of space services and applications, that is to say their use for civil but also for security and defence purposes. The Fifth Session will offer the chance to identify all the implications of this dual use, from market-opening to data protection, through the shape of a possible European system for space surveillance and security.