Brussels, 9 February 2005
OPINION of the European Economic and Social Committee on the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of the deployment and commercial operating phases of the European programme of satellite radionavigation COM(2004) 477 final - 2004/0156 (COD)
Full text of Opinion in MS Word file on ESC website
The EESC reaffirms its full support for the Galileo programme and argues forcefully in favour of accelerating the two final development phases so as to ensure that it is fully operational in all respects by 2008.
The EESC urges the Commission to undertake an ex ante assessment of the added value for the concession holder, arising from the provision of services and intellectual property rights, and to disseminate clear and precise information based on the assessment's results.
The EESC considers that vital progress has been made towards setting up global infrastructure, in particular the EU-US cooperation agreement ensuring full compatibility and interoperability between existing global satellite radionavigation and positioning systems.
The EESC stresses the importance of international cooperation with China and Israel and believes that no effort should be spared in concluding mutual interest agreements with Switzerland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, India, Australia, Mexico, Brazil and South Korea. The Committee considers the Mediterranean basin to be a privileged area, in so far as it is already able to benefit from EGNOS services. Furthermore, it is of strategic importance for peace, stability and sustainable development in Europe.
In this regard, the EESC is convinced that extending accessibility to third countries constitutes a vital contribution to the external dimension of European Union policy.
The EESC hopes that the European Commission will be provided with a dedicated budget line for an information and awareness-raising campaign that will not only raise European citizens' awareness and appreciation of this excellent research product of European industry but will also reassure them that their privacy is being safeguarded.
Finally, the EESC hopes that its comments regarding certain recitals will be accepted (protection of privacy, increased financial resources, transitional phase and contribution of third countries) as defined above. The proposals aim to contribute to the clarity and transparency of the initiative and to ensure that it is allocated sufficient resources. Consequently, they are in the interest of the European institutions as well as civil society.