Brussels, 26 Nov 2003
The Council took note of the presentation by Commissioner Philippe Busquin on the Commission's White Paper on implementing the European Space Policy. It instructed the competent preparatory bodies of the Council with a view to enabling the Competitiveness Council to make an adequate response to bring the work forward rapidly.
In this White Paper, the Commission proposes the implementation of an extended European Space Policy to support the achievement of the European Union's policy goals. In particular, it is proposed to exploit the special benefits space technologies can deliver in support of the Union's policies and objectives: faster economic growth, job creation and industrial competitiveness, enlargement and cohesion, sustainable development and security and defence.
It is recalled that a number of Council resolutions and conclusions between 1998 and 2001 all pointed in the direction of developing a European space strategy. This culminated in the adoption by the Council in December 2001 of a Resolution entitled "Towards a European Space Strategy" inter alia inviting the Commission to present a proposal for a negotiation mandate for a framework agreement between the European Community and the European Space Agency (ESA). Following to negotiations conducted by the Commission on behalf of the Community with the ESA, a framework Agreement was signed on 25 November 2003 between the two Parties. This Agreement will have an initial duration of four years and will form an important basis for initially implementing the European space policy.