Thursday

27th Feb 2020

Focus

EU wants more co-operation with China in space

  • Galileo is still a 3D model, while rivals are developing fast (Photo: S. Corvaja, European Space Agency)

The EU wants to improve its co-operation with China in space technology and "share open frequencies in satellite navigation", just as the Asian giant is developing its own rival system.

Not wanting to be on the losing side as American, Russian and Chinese satellite navigation systems advance, the EU on Monday (4 April) launched its first EU Space Strategy, presented by industry commissioner Antonio Tajani.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

"The EU will also propose that space dialogue, the scope and objectives of which will be set out in appropriate bilateral arrangements, be established with other existing and emerging space powers, in particular the People's Republic of China," says the document.

"The EU will seek constructive solutions to issues of cooperation and sharing open frequencies in the field of satellite navigation," it adds.

China in 2003 joined as an investment partner the EU's own satellite navigation project, Galileo, which should have been already operational this year, and whose costs are likely to surpass the initial budget by over €1.5 billion.

Although "China Galileo Industries" still exists and held its sixth board meeting in January, Beijing has meanwhile started its own project, Beidou, planned to offer satellite navigation to South Asian countries next year and to expand to a global service by 2020.

"Galileo is one of the Union's flagship programmes and the first satellite navigation system in the world designed for civilian use. It will enable the Union to remain independent in a strategically important field, at a time when reliance on global navigation systems continues to grow," the Tajani paper reads, without any specific reference to Beidou.

His calls to step up and complete the Galileo project are also valid for EU's other project - the European Earth Monitoring Programme (GMES) designed for land, ocean, atmosphere, air quality and climate change monitoring, but also emergency response and security. GMES should be operational by 2014.

A European Space Situation Awareness system, protecting space stations and satellites from debris, solar radiations and asteroids is also mentioned in the paper.

"Space should become an integral part of the EU's external policy in particular to the benefit of Africa," the document reads, adding that Brussels may propose an EU space programme in 2011, depending on the bloc's next multi-annual budget.

Currently, European space manufacturing industry represents a turnover of €5.4 billion and employs over 30,000 highly qualified professionals. There are 11 major satellite operators in Europe using 153 communication satellites, with a turnover of €6 billion and representing some 6,000 employees.

If Galileo and GMES were to be implemented, Tajani projects "economic and social benefits worth around €60-90 billion over the next 20 years."

China urges Germany and France to solve euro-crisis

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao on Thursday offered vague promises to buy bonds from troubled euro-countries, but said that it is ultimately up to Germany and France to solve the crisis.

Feature

Coronavirus: voices from a quarantined Italian town

Panic-buying, plus resentment at the media for fuelling the panic, are the paradoxical responses of residents of the Italian towns of Vicenza and Vo', where Italy's first victim of the coronavirus died last Friday.

Greek island riots require measured response, says EU

Residents on the Greek islands of Lesbos and Chios have been met with riot police, following protests against plans to erect new migrant detention camps. The European Commission says measures by Athens' authorities must be "necessary and proportionate."

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  2. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December

Latest News

  1. WHO on coronavirus in Europe: 'be prepared'
  2. Frontex hits activist pair with €24,000 legal bill
  3. Turkish jets keep violating Greek airspace
  4. 'Fragmented' Slovakia goes to polls amid corruption woes
  5. EU development policy needs a fresh start
  6. EU critical of China on Swedish dissident publisher
  7. NGOs urge EU to tackle meat consumption 'problem'
  8. Coronavirus: voices from a quarantined Italian town

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us