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

February 8, 2002

Strasbourg, 7 February 2002

Norbert GLANTE (PES, D)
Report on the proposal for a Council regulation on the establishment of the GALILEO Joint Undertaking (COM(2001) 336 - C5-0329/2001 - 2001/0136(CNS))
Doc.: A5-0005/2002
Procedure: Consultation procedure
Debate: 06.02.2002
Vote: 07.02.2002

Following on from a resolution adopted on 3 October 1991 expressing Parliament's concern over the financing of the Galileo Satellite Navigation System, MEPs today approved a number of non-binding amendments to the legislative proposal. On the question of the Administrative Board of the Joint Undertaking, MEPs are saying that it may seek the advice of an Advisory panel of expert business developers to be established in order to offer impartial advice to prepare the ground for the Galileo Joint Undertaking.

The Commission is proposing that the seat of the Galileo Joint Undertaking would be in Brussels. However, the MEPs want to see the seat decided with reference to the taxation in the potential country of location. They also emphasise that the Joint Undertaking should not exclude the possibility of using the Galileo system for military application for peace-keeping missions.

Nevertheless, Parliament is strongly backing the Galileo system, which is designed to give Europe an independent technology applicable to a wide range of activities. However, MEPs are dissatisfied with the Commission's proposal that private companies could become actual members of the Galileo Joint Undertaking. They believe a conflict of interest would arise if private companies were directly involved in the 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 in the Joint Undertaking, Parliament suggests that a development company be set up whose purpose would be to guarantee regular and institutionalised exchanges between the private sector and the Undertaking, to generate publicity for the Galileo programme among users and the general public and possibly to carry out tasks specified by the Undertaking. MEPs also want to set up a monitoring committee to oversee the Joint Undertaking in order to enable the Member States and the Commission to supervise the content and the funding of the programme. The committee would monitor the implementation of the development phase and also deal with privacy and security aspects of the system.

Satellite radionavigation systems are 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 of 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 thereafter.

Press enquiries:
Leena Maria Linnus
(Strasbourg) tel.(33) 3 881 72421
(Brussels) tel.(32-2) 28 42825

European Parliament Daily Notebook: 07-02-2002 _en.htm

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