Brussels, 18 March 2002
Outstanding objections and obstacles to the Galileo programme are reported to have been overcome at the Barcelona summit on 15 and 16 March.
The countries which had shown hesitation over the project were said to be reassured by commitments given on sound financing management and the use of the satellite, which would be used only for civilian purposes. Discussions were said to be fruitful when the subject was raised on Friday at the summit, and the event's conclusions note the progress made.
'The European Council welcomes the progress on Galileo and asks the Transport Council at its meeting in March to take the necessary decisions regarding both the funding and launching of this programme and the setting up of the joint undertaking, in cooperation with the European space agency,' the conclusions read.
An official from the European Commission involved with the project qualified the conclusions as very positive, as they are effectively an endorsement of the programme from the European Heads of State. 'Now we have to hope that the Transport Council, meeting on 26 March will adopt the necessary decisions on financing and the joint undertaking. But we are confident that this will happen,' he said.
Support for the programme was on the agenda at a meeting of national Members of Parliament that took place in the Belgian senate on 12 March. The meeting between representatives from the Parliaments of Belgium, the Netherlands, France, German, Spain, Italy and the UK, along with members of the business community, led to a declaration in which they reaffirmed the programme's importance for European research and industry. The declaration, which also called for the private sector to provide funding for the programme, has been sent to all European institutions, Member State governments, the European space agency and the industrial companies active in the space sector.
For further information on the Galileo satellite programme, please consult the following web address: http://www.galileo-pgm.org