Opening of EU-China negotiations on satellite navigation, Remarks by François Lamoureux, Director-General DG Energy and Transport

May 19, 2003

Brussels, 16 May 2003

Full text

Opening of EU-China negotiations on satellite navigation

Intervention of Mr Lamoureux
Director General, European Commission
Directorate-General for Energy and Transport

16 May 2003

· I am pleased to open these negotiations between the People's Republic of China and the European Union on satellite navigation.

· I am particularly pleased to welcome you, Secretary General, Mr SHI, and your delegation to Brussels and to transmit to you the greeting of Vice President Loyola de Palacio.

· EU-China cooperation covers a large number of sectors from trade to science, transport and energy. The recent maritime agreement provides another concrete evidence of our joint interest and determination to develop our links. However, never before has the European Union and China embarked on a cooperation project of the same magnitude as in GALILEO. This project goes well beyond industrial or standardisation issues. It entails a strong strategic component which will have far- reaching consequences on future Sino-European political relations.

· I recall my discussions with Minister XU Guanhua and Dr WANG in July 2001 where we tasked our experts to start examining cooperation areas. This was one month after the EU- China Summit and the initial Galileo information seminar in Beijing.

· After the first deliberations on both sides and despite some problems in the Galileo planning, the Commission managed rapidly to proceed from a communication in September 2002, through a proposal this January. EU Member States were unanimous to agree to open these negotiations at the last Council of Transport Ministers this March.

· Today, the negotiators should be both ambitious and realistic in their work so that we can meet again soon to close the agreement. As for the timing, I would expect the negotiators to submit a draft agreement by the end of this year.

· A clear timetable is also necessary to ensure China does find its place within the programme before all work has been contracted for the development phase which runs until 2005. In that respect, one challenge we have is for the agreement to truly build bridges between European and Chinese industrialists and GNSS users.

· Your presence at the Galileo Industry Day on 18 March and the Industrial Seminar in Beijing last December gave right signals to the industrial actors on both sides.

The mandate that was given to initiate negotiation is quite extensive. All subjects should be discussed, with the exceptions of two issues of which you are well aware:

- the public-regulated service,

- and critical technologies for which no licences exist to be made accessible to China, at this stage.

As a consequence, our negotiators can be ambitious. To my mind, the following areas should be covered:

- Chinese scientists and industrialists should contribute to Galileo. To that end, concrete projects should be launched both in the design of certain parts of the system, as well as the development of applications.

- Training and user forums should be promoted. In this context, the cooperation centre in Beijing will have a key role to support these activities.

- We need to join our efforts also in the important international foras (aviation, maritime, telecommunication) to promote innovative satellite navigation technology and Galileo interoperable solutions. We expect Chinese support to our positions on frequencies and international standardisation activities.

- Your Prime Minister ZHU has stated that China is ready to invest also financially in Galileo. This is welcomed. The Joint Undertaking is a potential channel for this.

- Finally, long term partnership means also going beyond the lifetime of the Joint Undertaking (end of 2005) to the operational phase of Galileo. The discussions should also cover the various levels of associating China to the future operation of the system and its extension world-wide. I expect these issues to be inserted in the agreement.

The European Union attaches great importance to the long term nature of the collaboration. The presence of a large number of representatives of Member States here today demonstrates this. Although the agreement which will be negotiated is essential, ongoing concrete cooperation projects should be continued in parallel. I refer notably to the imminent opening of the centre in Beijing, the EGNOS demonstration campaign in China and the development of pilot applications.

We are all aware of the difficulties that your country, like others in the region, is facing with the spread of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Your country is taking effective measures: it is important that we do not give way to panic reactions. For this reason I have personally insisted to confirm our meeting today.

Energy and Transport DG

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