Brussels, 20 Mar 2003
Current global tensions underline the need for an effective space programme which meets the EU's security needs, Commissioner for Research Philippe Busquin has said.
Speaking at a conference on 'European security and space' on March 19, Mr Busquin noted that the EU had a political responsibility to ensure that the best possible security conditions are in place for its citizens.
Mr Busquin argued that by enhancing the security dimension of space policy, the EU would be able to take a more autonomous approach to crisis management, including conflict prevention. He added that this ambitious approach to coordinating space and security lies at the very heart of the Green Paper on European space policy that was published on 21 January.
However, one of the weaknesses highlighted by the Green Paper is the EU's modest budget in the area of space related security. To overcome its budgetary limitations, 'Europe must develop a more coherent and structured approach to research in the area of security,' said Mr Busquin.
The recent publication of the latest science and technology indicators also reveals that uncoordinated activities are seriously affecting the efficiency of the defence sector.
While there are several European defence related satellite programmes operational at national and bilateral levels, no European system is currently in place.
Yet Mr Busquin remains optimistic that a common approach to space and security can be achieved through European initiatives such as global monitoring for the environment and security (GMES) programme and Galileo system.
Mr Busquin also referred to the communication, adopted by the Commission on 11 March, which proposes measures to make the European defence sector more competitive.
To promote further cooperation in the field of global security, Mr Busquin announced the establishment of a high level group, which will bring together representatives from Member States, industry and research organisations.
The Commission also intends to launch an initiative focusing on case studies carried out on the security dimension of space, aimed ensuring a coordinated European approach in this area.
Finally, the White Paper on European space policy is expected by the end of 2003.
For further information, please visit: