EESC Opinion: GALILEO/Progress report

July 12, 2004

Brussels, 30 June 2004

OPINION of the European Economic and Social Committee on the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council - Progress report on the GALILEO research programme as at the beginning of 2004 COM(2004) 112 final
Full text of Opinion in MS Word file on ESC website

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General comments

The Committee appreciates the decisive approach adopted by the Commission in its Communication in view of the fact that the project in question is clearly of the utmost importance and involves considerable difficulties. In this spirit - marked by a determination to succeed - sustained attention should be paid to the following issues:

  • the building-in of the security requirements at the design stage of both the system and its management;
  • the conclusion of negotiations with the USA with a view to reaching an agreement based on symmetrical commitments and the goal of interoperability;
  • the endeavour to find adequate private funding and the guaranteed provision of long-term loans by the EIB;
  • the need to keep the cost of realising the programme within the confines of the estimated budget.
The success of this major project depends upon the clear affirmation of political and financial will by the Council and its resolute adherence to this stance. By committing itself to the GALILEO project, the Council has demonstrated its ambition for both the EU and its space policy.

Conclusion

In its conclusions, the Commission appears to demonstrate some anxiety or uncertainty as regards the issue of financing. This is a matter of fundamental importance; if the financing were to be called into question, the whole programme could be placed in jeopardy. The EESC can only reaffirm the fact that the GALILEO project is of major strategic importance to the EU, to the future of its space industry and to the cause of promoting European integration; The EESC already strongly emphasised this point, setting out a detailed case, in its opinions on the Commission's Green Paper and White Paper on the European space policy. The EESC shares the Commission's satisfaction with regard to the very real progress which has been achieved in getting this project underway and hopes that the optimism displayed by the Commission will not be lessened by last-minute difficulties.

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European Economic and Social Committee

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