Brussels, 28 Apr 2003
At a meeting of the European Parliament's Sky and Space Intergroup, guest speaker and EU Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin claimed that a consolidated approach to space between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European institutions is necessary to diminish the threat to Europe's presence in space.
Mr Busquin explained that Europe currently has a strong presence in the space sector, but that it is threatened in the short term, in part due to the current reduction in demand for commercial launches. The Commissioner believes that a consolidated approach would provide some security, while promoting space applications in new areas such as agriculture and meteorology in Europe would provide more.
In a debate that followed Mr Busquin's speech, Members of the UK, French and European Parliaments, as well as representatives from industry, expressed concerns about the weakness of the institutional space market in Europe, under-financing of the space sector and the difficulties inherent in decision making. In this context, the drafting of a European space policy and its implementation were emphasised by those present as a matter of urgency.
At the next ESA ministerial meeting on May, the Sky and Space Intergroup intends to table a resolution supporting Galileo, Europe's satellite navigation system, independent access to space and the work of the European Convention.