Friday

22nd Mar 2019

EU expected to unveil space policy before summer

  • EU member states have been bickering about the issue (Photo: European Space Agency)

After two years of political wrangling among governments, the EU is finally set to unveil a collective space policy for the 27-nation bloc, including implications for the military use of space.

Germany, currently sitting at the EU's helm, is expected to table the European space strategy before its six-month term presidency expires at the end of June, according to defensenews.com.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The strategy will not only focus on supporting Europe's commercial space sector, but also will touch on the military use of space and whether EU governments can continue holding on to their national military satellite programmes.

According to EU officials cited by defensenews, it is economic pressure that will force EU capitals to speed up their efforts towards "a common military satellite environment".

"I just don't see the budgetary capability [of member states] to continue supporting their separate national programmes", an EU official was cited as saying by media, underlining "it's hugely duplicative and costly."

Europe's common space policy was expected to take off before the end of 2005, after the European Commission had outlined its key elements in May of that year.

In its document at the time, Brussels said that the EU needed a sector-specific industrial policy to develop critical technologies and a globally competitive space industry; international cooperation in line with the EU's wider geopolitical objectives and effective day-to-day operation of space systems; and thirdly, policy instruments for investing in programmes and ensuring their efficient management.

But in practice, the EU had difficulties in getting the idea off the ground due to behind-the-scenes in-fighting, including friction between the commission and the European Space Agency over how space initiatives should be managed.

Galileo, a similar story?

Similar wrangling between governments and companies in the EU has also delayed the work on the bloc's biggest ever joint technological project – the Galileo satellite navigation system.

The internal power struggle led to the negotiations in the private consortium - consisting of eight European firms who will implement and run the Galileo system - being suspended because they cannot agree a common commercial position.

In addition, there have also been complaints of political meddling, with EU member states still pushing for their interests to be taken into account.

The set-up of a global network of 30 navigation satellites and ground stations, meant to end the EU's reliance on the US Global Positioning System (GPS), is expected to be postponed from 2008 to 2012.

Power struggle jeopardises EU Galileo satellite system

Political wrangling between governments and companies in the EU is jeopardising the bloc's biggest ever joint technological project – the Galileo satellite navigation system – which is already facing several delays.

EUobserved

Campaigning commissioners blur the lines

EU commissioners campaigning for a national post have to take a leave of absence - while those running for an EU job do not. This distinction undermines the effort to close the gap between EU and national politics.

Slovakia puts squeeze on free press ahead of election

Smer, Slovakia's ruling party, wants the country's media to give politicians a right-of-reply, or face stiff fines. Advocates of a free press are alarmed, and it poses a problem for the European Commission, whose vice-president is a Smer presidential candidate.

EPP suspends Orban's Fidesz party

In a compromise decision, Europe's centre-right grouping stops short of expelling Hungary's ruling party - which has been accused of rolling back democracy and the rule of law.

Opinion

Macron is confusing rigidity with strength

Jan Zahradil, EU Commission president Spitzenkandidat for the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, responds to Emmaneul Macron's European vision ahead of the May elections.

May tosses Brexit spanner into EU machinery

The UK is seeking a three-month delay to leave in the European Union. But its 30 June deadline is a major headache given the European elections in May. The European Commission is demanding EU summit leaders reject May's proposal.

Magazine

The changing of the guards in the EU in 2019

The four most powerful EU institutions - Commission, Parliament, Council and Central Bank will all have new leaders in the coming ten months. Here is an overview.

Magazine

All about the European Parliament elections 2019

EUobserver's new magazine is meant to help readers prepare for the European Parliament elections, no matter their level of knowledge. You can download and read the entire magazine now.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  4. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  7. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  12. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us