Brussels, 30 Apr 2003
Negotiations surrounding Member State contributions to the proposed European satellite navigation system, Galileo, are still deadlocked, a spokesperson for the European Space Agency (ESA) has told CORDIS News.
More than a year has now passed since national transport ministers agreed to allocate 450 million euro in EU funding to the project, but agreement on what proportion of the remaining 550 million euro budget each individual ESA Member State should contribute has proven harder to achieve.
While Italy and Germany managed to resolve their dispute over the operational return on their contributions, Spain is now refusing to accept a deal under which it would provide nine per cent of the total cost. The Spanish government wants its contribution to Galileo to be at least ten per cent.
The extent of the deadlock is illustrated by the fact that the Galileo project was not even discussed at ESA's board meeting on the 25 April, which national representatives attended, ESA spokesperson Franco Bonacina told CORDIS News.
'Any agreement on financial contributions to the programme has to be unanimous, so until Spain changes its position, we're stuck,' Mr Bonacina said.
There currently are no plans for a meeting to resolve the issue, and with a delay to the planned 2008 launch date looking ever more likely, ESA chiefs will not be alone in hoping that a surprise compromise can somehow be found.
For further information on Galileo, please consult the following web address: