Tuesday

19th Jun 2018

EU agrees Galileo satellite project

  • The Galileo project has already been delayed by five years (Photo: European Space Agency)

Updated 30.11.2007 21.00 CET The 27-nation European Union has agreed how the Galileo satellite project, worth €3.4 billion, will be shared out among member states, with Spain on Friday abandoning its isolated position and finally giving its blessing to the deal.

"Thanks to the combined efforts of the commission and the presidency, all the member states have eventually accepted to work on the basis of this mechanism", EU transport commissioner Jacques Barrot said in a written statement.

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.

... our join as a group

He added that "an agreement will allow Europe to have its own satellite navigation system by 2013".

Spain's U-turn follows six-hour long negotiations on Thursday night (29 November), which saw 26 ministers outvoting their Spanish colleague in order move on with the project.

Madrid had demanded to host a ground control centre for Galileo - a global network of 30 navigation satellites and ground stations, which is meant to end the EU's reliance on the US Global Positioning System (GPS).

In the end, the Spanish government accepted an offer to host the project's only 'life safety' centre, designed to help all types of search and rescue services.

In addition, the centre could eventually carry out the functions of a control centre, if certain conditions are met.

Until now, only two centres - Germany and Italy - have qualified for such a status.

However, the EU bloc was set to move on with its biggest ever joint technological project even without Spain's blessing.

Originally a public-private project, it has already been postponed by five years to 2013, as the private consortium, consisting of eight European firms, could not agree a common commercial position.

"We have reached the point where it was no longer possible to carry on with that situation", Portuguese transport minister Mario Lino said on Thursday in response to Spain's firm opposition to a compromise scenario.

He added that "I did not understand what it was they were objecting to...we really listened to Spanish concerns and we think it's clearly reflected in the text".

According to the newly-adopted industrial plan, the construction of Galileo will be divided into six phases, with each of them having one main investor and several subcontractors - a model which should ensure all member states will be able to bid.

This was "very difficult" to agree, commissioner Barrot said, referring to the need to "reconcile necessary measures of competition and the desire for fair allocation of the construction work of Galileo".

In addition, he pointed out that once up and running, Galileo will "ensure the economic and strategic independence" of the EU, as "special navigation is an indication of power" on the world stage.

EU states set to back some asylum reform laws

Efforts to reform 'Dublin', a regulation that determines who is responsible for asylum applications, remain mired in controversy. But other less contentious reforms that make up EU asylum laws have already reached provisional agreements.

Opinion

The Baltic 'Big Sea' strategy

The Baltic Sea is almost an inland European lake - it borders Norway, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Kaliningrad and Russia. It also has an EU strategy - and an action plan.

Opinion

Is EU retail sector equipped for 21st century?

After a thorough analysis in cooperation with EU countries we have identified many regulatory restrictions that hamper innovation and investment in the retail sector.

Opinion

The Baltic 'Big Sea' strategy

The Baltic Sea is almost an inland European lake - it borders Norway, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Kaliningrad and Russia. It also has an EU strategy - and an action plan.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel and Macron meet over migration and eurozone
  2. Salvini plans census of Roma communities
  3. Slovenia to take Croatia to court in border row
  4. Parliamentary setback over corruption in Romania
  5. Lords force new vote for UK parliament to influence Brexit
  6. Report: Audi CEO arrested over Dieselgate
  7. EU-Australia trade talks kick off in Brussels next month
  8. France and Germany moving closer to eurozone reform

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMHRMI Launches Lawsuits Against Individuals and Countries Involved in Changing Macedonia's Name
  2. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  3. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  5. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  8. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  9. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  12. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us