Brussels, 10 Oct 2003
On 9 October, the European Parliament adopted an own-initiative report by Italian MEP Guido Bodrato on Europe's space policy. The resolution calls on the Commission to take a closer look at the growing gap between the public budgets allocated to space in the US and in Europe, and, together with industry, to set up appropriate measures to reverse the trend.
The resolution proposed by Mr Bodrato comes in response to the Commission's Green Paper on Space published earlier this year. It notes that in 2001, US expenditure was equivalent to more than 60 per cent of the world market in manufactured goods, compared with 14 per cent in Europe. Furthermore, the report claims that many strategic space technologies are being developed or exist solely in the US, and that dependence on these American technologies is increasing.
In the debate that preceded the report's adoption, MEPs welcomed those measures already taken to bring Europe up to speed, most notably the agreement reached on the Galileo satellite navigation programme. However, they urged the Commission to remain attentive to the strict time frame laid down, and stressed the need for industry to develop specific services for Galileo in order to ensure the success of the project.
MEPs agreed that another measure likely to close the gap between Europe and the US is the recent framework agreement between the European Community and the European Space Agency. The agreement constitutes a major step towards better cooperation and should minimise duplication of effort, they claimed. Furthermore, the beneficial effects that Article 150 of the proposed European Constitution will have on the Community's space policy were fully supported during the debate: MEPs urged the Intergovernmental Conference to take up this proposal as it stands.
With regard to the Global Monitoring of Environment and Security initiative (GMES), the Parliament called on the Commission to speed up its implementation, particularly given the growing international interest in the initiative.
A White Paper on European Space Policy will be drawn up by the Commission and is due to be presented before the end of 2003. To read the resolution in full,
please click here