Brussels, 31 March 2004
OPINION of the European Economic and Social Committee on the Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - A coherent Framework for Aerospace - a Response to the STAR 21 Report COM(2003) 600 final
Full text of Opinion in MS Word file on ESC website
The European Economic and Social Committee considers that the Commission Communication on the STAR 21 report rightly draws attention to the weaknesses of military aerospace activity in Europe. However, it feels that the Commission probably attaches too much importance to the institutional side of things, and that the main thing is that a real political desire for autonomous Community defence should emerge in Europe. Only that will enable our industries to be given a solid base.
In the field of space, the EESC notes that the White Paper drawn up by the Commission fully answers the requests made by STAR 21. It considers that the Commission/ESA framework agreement and the political guidelines defined by the White Paper should enable Europe's ambitions in space to be revived.
The EESC would point out that the European aerospace industry provides jobs for millions of Europeans and requires highly skilled staff able to master the most advanced current technologies. It is therefore clear that if the aim of making Europe "the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world" is not to remain only an empty and hollow formula, it is up to the Member States to take appropriate action by defining genuine and ambitious European policies -as regards armament and space activities, coordinated and synthesised at EU level so that our continent can regain its rightful position in the new world order.