Brussels, 11th February 2005
Today European Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen handed over a copy of the EU Constitution to the European Astronaut Corps, represented by French astronaut Michel Tognini. Symbolising the aspiration of almost 500 million Europeans to work peacefully together, Italian astronaut Roberto Vittori will fly the EU Constitution to the International Space Station on 15 April 2005, on board the “Soyuz” launcher taking off from Baikonour in Kazakstan. The copy was handed over at the opening of the “Earth and Space Week” in Brussels.
In a letter accompanying the EU Constitution Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen says:
“The International Space Station offers mankind the unique benefits of a permanent human presence in space and represents the largest scientific cooperative programme in history, drawing on the resources and scientific expertise of 16 nations.
Twenty-five Member States signed the Constitution in Rome on 29th October 2004. It defines the European Union and its values, objectives, responsibilities, decision-making procedures and institutions, and incorporates the Charter on fundamental rights.
The European Constitution offers the world an example of how national interests can be transcended, by channelling the aspiration of nearly half a billion citizens from diverse cultural backgrounds towards the common goals of peace, freedom and prosperity.
This historic achievement will be fittingly marked by the delivery of a copy of the draft Constitution to the International Space Station on board the Soyuz launcher taking off from Baikonour in Kazakstan on 15 April.
Once in orbit, the Constitution will circle not only Europe, but the globe. It is to be hoped that this symbol of European identity will be welcomed by both Europeans and their counterparts throughout the world.”
About Earth & Space Week
Earth & Space Week (Brussels, 12-20 February 2005) is a European Commission and European Space Agency (ESA) joint initiative showing how Earth Observation (EO) and Space Activities improve quality of life on our planet. The center-piece of the Week is a nine-day interactive public Exposition, the Earth & Space Expo. Aimed at raising interest and awareness in Earth and Space, more than 3,000 m2 of exhibition area at Autoworld, Brussels, will offer a fascinating voyage for over 1500 visitors expected each day. The Expo is free to the public and suitable for all ages.
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