Brussels, 21 January 2002
On 17 January 2002, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the Commission's communication on the need to develop a more coherent space strategy for the EU, 'Europe and space: turning to a new chapter.'
MEPs emphasised that the EU's space activities should be intended for peaceful purposes only. They conceded, however, that this may include military applications for peacekeeping operations. They called for the EU to state clearly that the exploitation and use of outer space should be carried out for peaceful purposes and in the interest of mankind, in accordance with international law. Parliament declared that the non-proliferation of arms and the avoidance of an outer space 'arms race' should form the guiding principle of the EU's space policy.
MEPs also welcomed the drafting of a coherent European space strategy and stressed the importance of close and effective cooperation between the European Commission and the European space agency (ESA). In addition, they believe that the ESA, which currently operates on the basis of intergovernmental cooperation, should in the longer term be brought within the EU, while retaining its autonomy.
MEPs also emphasised the importance of the Galileo satellite navigation project, both for the European space strategy and for transport. German MEP Alexander Radwan said in his weekly newsletter 'Straßburg Direkt' that Galileo should be used for 'the analysis of information for peacekeeping exercises,' but warned against the creation of a 'European star wars.' Mr Radwan also said that the system could provide 'security for soldiers when EU Member States participate in international actions.'
A European Council decision of December 1999 called on the Commission and the ESA to draw up a coherent space strategy for Europe. In addition, the Council has called on the Commission to cooperate with ESA in setting up a joint high-level task force involving both the Commission and the ESA executive.
For further information, please contact:
Leena Maria Linnus
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