Brussels, 20 May 2003
Commissioner for Research, Philippe Busquin, was in London on 20 May to discuss the future role for Europe in the development of space technologies, and the earth based application of such products for the benefit of EU citizens.
The meeting was one of a series of consultation events being held following the publication of the Commission's Green Paper on space. The consultation will close with a major conference in Paris on 23 and 24 June, with a White Paper and action plan expected to follow before the end of 2003.
Addressing the opportunities for space research to lead to commercial products in areas such as telecommunications, navigation and earth observation, Mr Busquin said: 'Space and the way we exploit its potential can bring many benefits to the lives of all Europeans. We should turn space research into an engine that fuels Europe's economic fortunes and improves the quality of life of our citizens.'
'Without investments in space R&D [research and development], we would not have many products that we take for granted today, such as internet by satellite and early warning systems for natural disasters,' he continued.
Mr Busquin also urged the 350 representatives from government, industry and research in attendance to participate fully in the consultation process on Europe's role in space. 'I am confident Europe wants to be a region ready to explore new frontiers,' concluded the Commissioner.
The UK Minister for Science and Innovation, Lord Sainsbury, emphasised the importance of cooperation in space and space technology, saying: 'Working with our European partners is critical to the success of the UK's space ambitions. This is clearly demonstrated by the outstanding achievements Europe has made collectively in the last decade, particularly in satellite technologies.'
Lord Sainsbury singled out Galileo, Europe's satellite navigation system, and global monitoring for the environment and security (GMES) as initiatives where cooperation was key, and pledged the UK's full involvement in the Green Paper consultation process.
Also present at the event was the Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA), Antonio Rodotà. Mr Rodotà highlighted ESA's role in driving collaborations that had improved the lives of citizens, saying: 'In the last three decades the European Space Agency has been widely involved in space applications and has helped place Europe at the forefront of the fast moving world of telecommunications, internet and multimedia business.'
An ESA ministerial meeting will be held on May to address a series of key issues facing the European space industry, including the future development of the Ariane launcher.
For further information on EU space policy, please consult the following web address: