GALILEO: Loyola de Palacio welcomes the nomination of the Joint Undertaking's Executive Director

June 13, 2003

Brussels, 12 June 2003

The Supervisory Board of the Galileo's Joint Undertaking has decided today to design Mr Rainer GROHE as Executive Director. "This is a new step ahead for the project Galileo" said Loyola de Palacio, vice-president in charge of Transport and Energy. "The Joint Undertaking can now start immediately its work to build the system and develop one of the main European technological projects".

The Executive Director of the Joint Undertaking is the person primarily responsible for the success of Galileo, the European satellite positioning and navigation system. Galileo, a project developed in co-operation with the European Space Agency, will enable users to determine their exact position in time and space at any moment: the system has many practical applications, ranging from radio navigation in private cars to transport safety in general, with knock-on effects in various commercial sectors (banking, geological applications, public works, energy, etc).

The technological, economic and strategic stakes for Europe's future are high. The economic spin-off will be enormous: various studies estimate that Galileo will create an equipment and services market of around €10 billion per year and tens of thousands of highly qualified jobs in Europe. This leading-edge technology will give a major boost to Europe's commercial and industrial influence in the world.

The setting up of a Joint Undertaking, provided for in Article 171 of the Treaty, will ensure that management of the programme is in one hand. It is a flexible organisation, with legal personality, able to conclude the necessary contracts to get Galileo up and running and promote the necessary research and development efforts.

The Executive Director's main tasks will be to:

  • manage the Joint Undertaking in carrying out the tasks defined in its Statutes;

  • organise, manage and supervise the staff of the Joint Undertaking;

  • draw up and regularly update the development plan;

  • prepare the draft annual budget and ensure the necessary follow-up;

  • submit to the Administrative Board any proposal involving a major change in the programme.
The aims of the Joint Undertaking are to:
  • start the research and development activities needed to make a success of the development phase (2002-2005) of the Galileo programme;

  • help mobilise the necessary public and private funding; negotiate, by calling for tenders from the private sector, a global agreement for the financing of the deployment (2006-2007) and operational phases (selection of the future commercial operator of the Galileo service);

  • supervise implementation of all the programmes;

  • supervise the optimal integration in Galileo of the Egnos programme.

The development phase of GALILEO (2002 - 2005) aims to validate the technical options and create all the conditions needed for rapid deployment of the infrastructure, including the launching of the first test satellites. Financing of this phase will be provided jointly by the European Union, with a total of €550m, and the European Space Agency (ESA), for which ESA Council approved a commitment of €550m.

This phase will be managed by a joint undertaking whose founder members are the European Union and the European Space Agency (ESA), which currently constitute the Administrative Board. In order to ensure the adequate flow of information and effective political control by member States of the implementation of the development phase of the Galileo programme, the Supervisory Board has been established. It is composed of one representative of each Member State of the EU, and of the representative of the Commission at the Administrative Board. The administrative Board will endorse the today's designation in the coming days.

For the record:

GALILEO is Europe's satellite radionavigation programme. It was launched on the initiative of the European Commission and will amount to the same kind of technological revolution as 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, agriculture or fisheries. To date, this technology, which promises to be highly profitable, is only mastered by the US 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. It will give Europe the full independence and control of this technology. Its complementarity with current systems will increase the reliability and availability of navigation and positioning services. A four-phase development procedure has been proposed: definition in 2000, development until 2005, deployment until 2008, followed by actual operation. The definition phase was completed at the end of 2000.

Information on GALILEO is also available at the following address:

The Council Regulation EC n° 876/2002 of 21 May 2002 creating the Galileo Joint Undertaking was published in the Official Journal n° L138 dated 28.05.2002.

DN: IP/03/832 Date: 12/06/2003

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