Brussels, 10 Sep 2003
As the signature of a framework agreement between the EU and the European Space Agency (ESA) draws nearer, the European Parliament's industry, external trade, research and energy committee has adopted a report calling on the EU to close the investment gap in space between Europe and the US.
The own initiative report by Italian MEP Guido Bodrato welcomes the pending agreement between the EU and ESA, a text for which has now been proposed by the Commission. Mr Bodrato refers to the accord as a major step towards cooperation, which should minimise duplication of effort.
The report dwells on the growing gap between public spending on space in Europe and the US in both the civil and military spheres. Official US expenditure in 2001 was equivalent to more than 60 per cent of the world market in manufactured goods, compared with only 14 per cent in Europe. The committee is also concerned that the development of many strategic technologies solely in the US is leading to a dependence on these American technologies. The report therefore asks the Commission to work with industry to find ways of ensuring Europe's independence.
MEPs also call on industry to develop specific services for the use of the Galileo satellite navigation programme so that it shoulders its share of responsibility for making the project a success.
The swift implementation of the global monitoring of environment and security (GMES) initiative is also a priority, declared the committee, particularly in the context of growing international interest.
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