GALILEO: Loyola de Palacio welcomes the green light for an EU-China agreement

October 28, 2003

Brussels, October 2003

The Council adopted today the decision proposed by the European Commission to authorise the EU Presidency to sign a Co-operation Agreement between the European community and the People's republic of China on Galileo, the Civil Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) developed by the EU. The official signature will take place during the EU-China summit on 30th October 2003. "This is a very important step ahead which shows the high level of confidence created by GALILEO throughout the world. The partnership with China is a good news and paves the way for future other bilateral and regional agreements which are of mutual benefit" said Loyola de Palacio, European Commission vice-president in charge of Transport and Energy. "The EU-China agreement will do more than secure a promising future for Galileo and European business interests: it opens the way for China's participation in the Galileo Joint Undertaking and a substantial financial stake-holding of some €200 million" she explained.

Since the beginning of formal negotiations with China, on 28 March 2003, two rounds of talks were held and both sides finalised on 18 September 2003 a draft agreement which paves the way for China's active participation in the programme. The formal approval of the decision by the Council was required in order to authorise the EU presidency to sign it at the forthcoming EU-China Summit on 30 October 2003.

This agreement provides for co-operative activities on satellite navigation in a wide range of sectors, notably science and technology, industrial manufacturing, service and market development, as well as standardisation, frequency and certification. It also opens the way for China to take a substantial financial part (around €200 million) in the programme through a stakeholding in the GALILEO Joint Undertaking, the body established to manage the programme.

In the same context, the "China-Europe Global Navigation Satellite System Technical Training and Co-operation Centre" (CENC) was inaugurated on 19th September in Beijing's Zhongguancun Hi-Tech Zone. The Centre will serve as a focal point for all activities on GALILEO and will promote industrial co-operation. International experts will be invited for lectures on the technical and commercial aspects of satellite navigation, with special attention given to development of applications. The training centre is the result of a joint effort by the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, the Chinese Remote Sensing Centre, the European Commission and the European Space Agency.

European industry is eager to collaborate with China in this field. The Centre is a critical tool to encourage ventures and other industrial collaborative activities. With the assistance of the EU 6th Framework Programme for research, several European companies are planning to invite Chinese partners to join forces to submit proposals for developing the application market for GALILEO during the next few years.

Background

GALILEO is Europe's satellite radionavigation programme. It was launched on the initiative of the European Commission and developed jointly with the European Space Agency (ESA). It heralds the advent of a technological revolution similar to the one sparked off by mobile phones. It will also make for the development of a new generation of universal services in areas such as transport, telecommunication, agriculture or fisheries. To date, this technology, which promises to be highly profitable, is only mastered by the United States GPS system and Russia's GLONASS system, both of which are financed and controlled by the military authorities. The GALILEO programme will be administered and controlled by civilians and offers a guarantee of quality and continuity which is essential for many sensitive applications. Its complementarity with current systems will increase the reliability and availability of navigation and positioning services world-wide.

For more information about Galileo, please visit:

http:///europa.eu.int/comm/dgs/energy_transport/galileo/i...

http:///www.esa.int/export/esaSA/navigation.html

For more information on EU-China Science and Technology co-operation, please visit:

http:///www.delchn.cec.eu.int/

DN: IP/03/1461 Date: /10/2003

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