Galileo, an opportunity for Europe

March 19, 2002

Brussels, 18 March 2002

The president-in-office of the Council of Transport and Telecommunications ministers, Ana Birulés, chaired the meeting on “Galileo, an opportunity for Europe: Institutions and Industries working together”.

The Galileo programme -which will lead to 30 satellites being placed in orbit and a further 8 in reserve- is the first large-scale combined programme between the European Commission and the European Space Agency. It is set to be a crucial space industry project and will provide key infrastructure for transport and for the information society, thus enabling Europe to compete on an equal footing with the United States in many areas.

Space is a strategic sector where Europe is already playing a prominent role in several technology areas, among them communications satellites and launchers. However, European satellite navigation has lagged behind the United States, which has boasted its own system (GPS) for years. Thanks to Galileo, Europe will have its own infrastructure which will make it fully autonomous and enable it to access new markets for products, applications and equipment currently manufactured by US industry.

Approval of the European Commission’s side of the programme, to be given on 25-26 of this month by the EU Transport Ministers’ Council, will signal the definitive go-ahead for the global commencement of Galileo.

Galileo comprises four phases: definition (1999-2001), development and validation (2002-2004), deployment (2005-2007) and operations, the last-named of which is scheduled to begin in 2008. Initial investment earmarked for the four phases amounts to 3,300 million euros.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Ana Birulés put her signature to the agreement which sees the Spanish consortium, Galileo Sistemas y Servicios, join the European industrial group, Galileo Industries.

Spanish Presidency Website http://www.eu2002.es

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