Private sector to be involved in GALILEO - but not as member of Joint Undertaking

January 14, 2002


The Committee on Industry is strongly backing the Galileo satellite radionavigation system, which is designed to give Europe an independent technology applicable to a wide range of activities. This type of technology is already used on a daily basis in the transport industry, telecommunications, customs and agriculture.

At present, however, the only systems in existence are the GPS in the USA and GLONASS in Russia, both which are funded and controlled by the military authorities, with the result that their signals can be blocked or jammed at any time to safeguard the national interest. To remedy this situation the Commission, following a request by Council in 1998, proposed an independent European satellite radionavigation programme - Galileo - to be developed in four phases: definition in 2000, development by 2005, deployment by 2007 and operation and exploitation after that.

Last October the full Parliament adopted a resolution in which it expressed concern regarding the financial viability of Galileo if there were no commitment from the private sector. The resolution emphasised that the financial consequences of any failure by the private sector to invest should not be passed on to the Community or national budgets. Parliament therefore urged the Commission to ensure sufficient private sector involvement at each stage of the project.

However, in a report by Norbert GLANTE (PES, D) adopted on Tuesday, the Committee on Industry voiced dissatisfaction with the Commission's proposal that private companies could become actual members of the Galileo Joint Undertaking. MEPs believe a conflict of interest would arise if private companies were directly involved in the Joint Undertaking. They therefore want to restrict membership to the founding members, the European Communities and the European Space Agency (ESA), and possibly in future the European Investment Bank.

In order to involve the private sector with the Joint Undertaking the committee suggests that a development company be set up, whose purpose would be to guarantee regular and institutionalised exchanges between the private sector and the Joint Undertaking, to generate publicity for the Galileo programme among users and general public and possibly to carry out tasks specified by the Joint Undertaking.

Mr Glante's report is due to be adopted at Parliament's Strasbourg plenary session of 4-7 February under the consultation procedure.

8.1.2002 Committee on Industry, External Trade, Research and Energy       In the chair: Carlos WESTENDORP Y CABEZA (PES, E)

Press enquiries:Leena Maria Linnus - tel. (32-2) 28 42825e-mail:

European Parliament News Report 2002-01-09

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