Strasbourg, 29 Jan 2004
Guido BODRATO (EPP-ED, I)
Motion for a resolution on the action plan for implementing the European space policy
In response to the Commission's White Paper, MEPs adopted a resolution drafted by Guido BODRATO (EEP-ED I) on the action plan for implementing European Space Policy. The resolution based on an oral question to the Commission was formally adopted by Parliament.
MEPs underline that European space policy plays a key role in European Union policies: for research, for safety and security, for telecommunications, for transport, for environmental protection, for agriculture, for the management of water resources, for early-warning systems in the event of floods and forest fires and for earthquake risk reduction. According to the Commission's White Paper, implementation of a European Space Policy is set to come in two phases. The first (2004-2007) will consist of implementing the activities covered by the recently agreed Framework Agreement between the European Community and European Space Agency. The second (2007 onwards) will start after the coming into force of the European Constitutional Treaty which is expected to establish space as a shared competence between the Union and its Member States.
As to financing of European space policy, MEPs consider that pooling resources and sharing investments is the most sensible way to proceed, while recognising that the long-term objectives can be achieved only on the basis of Community projects which require a progressive increases in the resources made available to the Community space budget. However, MEPs recognise the need for a more flexible and efficient system of enabling the returns to be reaped on an equitable geographic basis ('juste retour'). The House also states that the national space industries must continue to participate in appropriate and reliable ways in the market, without giving rise to any unnecessary duplication of structures.
Parliament emphasises the huge importance of the Galileo project, which was launched under the aegis of the European Union and is jointly financed with the ESA. MEPs call on the Commission and the Council, when setting up the supervisory authority for Galileo, to provide for efficient structures to ensure the transparency, smooth operation and safety of the system. The House also welcomes the participation of China in the Galileo programme.
Given the US recent announcements on its new space strategy including a return to the Moon and missions to Mars, MEPs urge the Commission to define what role and importance it assigns to the International Space Station.
There is also a welcome for the Franco-Russian agreement of November 2003 concerning the setting up of a Soyuz launcher at Kourou in French Guyana, with a view to widening the range of European launchers and preparing for the possibility of future manned European flights.
Lastly, the House calls for the European astronaut corps based in Cologne to be opened to future astronauts from the new Member States with a view to their taking part in manned space missions, with specific financial support from the European Union if necessary.
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