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The EU cannot lose the space battle


The space industry can and must be a main driver for growth and innovation in Europe.

“The time is ripe to create a single market for space in Europe to support space research and make the most of the increasing synergies between industrial space policy and defence”, said Antonio Tajani MEP, first Vice-President of the European Parliament.

The EPP Group calls on the European Commission to put forward a comprehensive and ambitious ‘Space Strategy for Europe’ in order to maximise the benefits of EU investments in space capabilities.

“But what is more important”, according to Tajani, also a former European Commissioner for Industry, “is to create tangible benefits for European citizens and businesses. This is why Europe needs a comprehensive space industrial policy.”

The space sector employs more than 320,000 people in the EU - from manufacturing to space operations and downstream services - and contributes €52 billion to the EU economy.

Between 2014 and 2020, over €12 billion will be spent on the implementation of the EU’s three space programmes: the Satellite navigation programmes Galileo and EGNOS, the earth observation programme Copernicus, and space research under Horizon 2020.

Françoise Grossetête MEP, Vice-Chairwoman of the EPP Group responsible for its Working Group on Economy and Environment, pointed out that the space sector can help us face global challenges, such as climate change or natural disasters: “Europe has to lead innovation in the space sector to maximise benefits for our strategic public policies and for European citizens through new applications of space services. Climate change is a concrete example where satellites can provide a lot of information.”

The President of the Sky and Space Parliamentary Intergroup, Monika Hohlmeier MEP, added: “The competitiveness and modernisation of our industry is based on our capability to make use of Copernicus and Galileo. Intelligent systems will revolutionise the technical world, the production of goods and the way of living. The most important question is: will the EU be able to shape the major changes in industry and on the labour market? To support the market entrance of European technologies and to strengthen our financial efforts in these areas, we have to focus on new developments."

Franck Proust MEP, Member of the Board of the Sky and Space Parliamentary Intergroup, added that the EU space industry is under pressure due to an increasing number of countries gaining market access: “Therefore, strengthening our industry in order to ensure our independent access to space should be our priority as well as the priority of the European Commission and Member States."

In addition, synergies between civil and defence sectors are far less developed in Europe than is the case with main competitors.

“We should not be afraid to make use of the EU satellite programmes, also in a widely-understood security domain such as border control, observation of migration flows, maritime and aerial traffic control and many, many more”, explained Bogdan Zdrojewski MEP, Rapporteur on the initiative Report ‘Space capabilities for European security and defence’.

Marian-Jean Marinescu MEP, Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group responsible for Budget and Structural Policies, underlined the need for renewed governance framework at EU level: “We need better coordination between all actors. And the European Space Agency's role is crucial in fulfilling the EU space programmes and activities.”


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