Commission proposes the future management structures for GALILEO, the European satellite radionavigation programme

August 1, 2003

Brussels, 31 July 2003

Today the Commission presents the future structures for managing the GALILEO programme in its deployment phase (2006-2008) and operational phase (from 2008). Two structures, each with essential public-interest missions, are proposed: a Supervisory Authority and a Centre for Safety and Reliability.

The Supervisory Authority will award the concession for deployment and operation of the GALILEO system to a private consortium selected after a call for tenders to be launched in the coming weeks.

The Centre for Safety and Reliability, set up under the auspices of the Secretary-General of the Council, will in particular provide the interface between the political authorities and the concession holder in the event of a crisis.

As Loyola de Palacio, the Vice-President responsible for Energy and Transport, stressed: "This proposal, eagerly awaited by the Member States and the industry, is fundamental because it establishes the legal and institutional framework for management of the programme from 2006 onwards. I urge the Council and Parliament to examine it without delay".

The joint undertaking in charge of managing GALILEO's development phase has been operational since 1 July. (1) The Commission therefore wishes to waste no time before proposing the future structures for managing the European satellite radionavigation programme during its deployment phase (2006-2008) and operational phase (from 2008).

The Supervisory Authority

The Supervisory Authority proposed by the Commission will be a Community body having legal personality and placed under the Commission's authority. Its function will be to manage the public interests relating to GALILEO, and it will have the following main tasks:

  • acting as a licensing authority vis-à-vis the private concessionaire to be appointed before the end of 2004 and ensuring that the concessionaire complies with the concession contract and the specifications attached to it, notably in terms of public service obligations as regards continuity and guarantee of service;

  • managing Community funds allocated to GALILEO;

  • acting as a technological observatory to anticipate further developments of the system.
The Supervisory Authority will also act as custodian of all the frequencies necessary to ensure the operation of the European satellite radionavigation system.

The Centre for Safety and Reliability

The GALILEO system is a sensitive infrastructure, so it is important to ensure its safety and reliability against attack (malicious or otherwise) and to prevent its use for terrorist or other purposes running counter to the interests of the European Union and its Member States.

The Commission therefore proposes to create, under the auspices of the Secretary-General of the Council, a Centre for Safety and Reliability made up of a small permanent team that will be operational at all times.

The centre will provide expertise in negotiations related to the safety and reliability of the system and will participate in preparing and ensuring compliance with the future operational and regulatory framework for safety and reliability.

It will also have to be capable of taking with the operator, in real time, such signal scrambling or interruption measures (selective or otherwise) as may be required in an emergency.

The centre should help to speed up the conclusion of a cooperation agreement with the United States on interoperability between GPS and GALILEO and on the development of arrangements for cooperation in the event of a crisis.

GALILEO, a success at international level

The World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC) closed on 4 July 2003. As with the previous conference in Istanbul in 2000, the situation regarding the GALILEO programme is very positive. Its recognition as a "real" system was confirmed (the programme having been launched), which makes it possible to keep the prior rights to frequencies obtained in Istanbul. Following the adoption of two new resolutions, GALILEO will also enjoy the same rights in terms of signal definition as the existing systems (GPS and GLONASS). Finally, a coordination procedure in the International Telecommunication Union will apply from 2005 to all satellite navigation systems. This new procedure will require all countries developing new systems to notify them in order to avoid any interference with systems such as GPS or GALILEO. This procedure puts the European Union on an equal footing in the negotiations on interoperability and frequency sharing with the United States or the Russian Federation.

More information on the GALILEO programme is available on: http://europa.eu.int/comm/dgs/energy_transport/galileo/index_en.htm
(1) On 26 March 2002 the Council of Transport Ministers concluded a political agreement on the creation of the GALILEO joint undertaking. The joint undertaking is responsible for managing the development phase of the programme and will prepare the management of its deployment and operational phases. On 26 May 2003 the Council of the European Space Agency came to an agreement on its participation, thus giving the green light to the joint undertaking.

DN: IP/03/1141 Date: 31/07/2003

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