Brussels, 04 Oct 2002
Disagreements within the European Space Agency (ESA) over the distribution of financial contributions to the Galileo project are expected to be resolved at an ESA Council meeting on 8 and 9 October, an ESA spokesperson has told CORDIS News.
The setting up of a Galileo joint undertaking is currently blocked because of these disagreements and because of difficulties in obtaining the necessary tax exemption in Belgium the host country.
'The problem has not been a lack of money, but a problem of having more money than expected,' said Franco Bonacina. Both Germany and Italy are extremely interested in the project, and both want to be principal investors, as this would guarantee that they get a high number of Galileo contracts, explained Mr Bonacina. ESA operates by a principle of 'juste retour' meaning that all sponsors are guaranteed returns in line with their investments.
Germany would like to see a distribution scale for financial contributions linked to the country's gross domestic product, the principal by which ESA compulsory programmes operate. Galileo is however an optional programme, and Italy is pressing for contributions to be linked with industrial return capacity, which is normally the rule for ESA optional programmes.
Galileo is intended to provide navigation services by satellite from 2008 onwards. The programme is divided into four distinct phases: design, development, deployment and operational. The design phase was completed at the end of 2000. The establishment of a joint taking is to be part of the development phase.
For further information about Galileo, please consult the following web address: http://europa.eu.int/comm/energy_transpo rt/en/gal_en.html