Sunday

12th Jul 2020

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 subscribe 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.

News in Brief

  1. Citizens' perception of judicial independence drops
  2. Irish finance minister voted in as eurogroup president
  3. Italy's League party opens office near old communist HQ
  4. 'Significant divergences' remain in Brexit talks
  5. Germany identifies 32,000 right-wing extremists
  6. WHO to hold probe of global Covid-19 response
  7. China accuses Australia of 'gross interference' on Hong Kong
  8. EU to let Croatia, Bulgaria take first step to join euro

Column

The opportunistic peace

This will be the most selfish act in recent economic history. It will burden future generations and by no means make the weakest member states better off.

Opinion

On toppling statues

The internationally-acclaimed author of King Leopold's Ghost, Adam Hochschild, writes on Belgium's problems with statues, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. Michel lays out compromise budget plan for summit
  2. Border pre-screening centres part of new EU migration pact
  3. EU 'failed to protect bees and pollinators', report finds
  4. MEPs give green light to road transport sector reform
  5. If EU wants rule of law in China, it must help 'dissident' lawyers
  6. Five ideas to reshape 'Conference on Future of Europe'
  7. EU boosts pledges to relocate minors from Greece
  8. Hydrogen strategy criticised for relying on fossil fuel gas

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us