Brussels, 20 Mar 2003
Both EU Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin and Director-General of Rosaviakosmos, the Russian space agency, Yuri Koptev, made moves to further strengthen cooperation in the field of space on 19 March.
While Mr Busquin invited the Russian Federation to participate in the steering committee of the Global Monitoring for the Environment and Security (GMES) satellite programme, Mr Koptev offered to make available data from Russia's Earth observation satellites.
A meeting between Mr Busquin and Mr Koptev was held in Brussels, and comprised discussions on the current and future space partnership between the EU and Russia. Talks addressed the need for common research under the GMES programme, launchers, and the satellite positioning systems Galileo and GLONASS. Mr Busquin also took the opportunity to urge the EU to learn from the Russian example.
'Both the EU and Russia stand to gain a lot from cooperation in space: it is a strategic choice for industrial competitiveness in both our countries,' said the Commissioner. 'The European Union should aim to achieve autonomy in the area of space. Russians remain unsurpassed in this field and their experience is invaluable to us.
Mr Busquin also emphasised, however, that the transfer of knowledge will move in both directions: 'Europe has extensive know-how in technology transfer, turning technologies developed for space into non space-based industrial and commercial applications.
For the first time, Russia is able to participate in EU projects as a full and equal partner under the Sixth Framework Programme. Close collaboration was also ensured in May 2002 with the signing of a joint EU-Russia statement on space cooperation. The agreement was made at the highest level and signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Commission President Romano Prodi and the then European Council President, José Maria Aznar.
For further information on EU-Russian cooperation in the field of space, please visit: