Research items and Space Council (GMES): Competitiveness Council, 28-29 November (link)

November 30, 2005

Brussels, 29 November 2005

2694th Council Meeting
Competitiveness (Internal Market, Industry and Research)
Brussels, 28-29 November 2005

Full text

Main Results of the Council

The Council approved a partial general approach on the 7th Framework Programmes for research and technological development: EC (2007-2013) and Euratom (2007-2011).


The Council approved, by a large majority, a partial general approach (1) on the 7th Framework Programmes (FP7) for research and technological development: EC (2007-2013) and Euratom (2007-2011).

The partial general approach will provide a solid base for future discussions following the opinion of the European Parliament and in the light of the results reached on the financial perspectives 2007-2013.

The Council debate took place on the basis of a compromise text established by the UK presidency.

It focused on the following issues:

- the adequate support for small and medium-sized enterprises participation in research projects;

- the implementation arrangements of the future European research council.

The new FP7 is a major tool for implementing one of the EU's priority goals of increasing the potential for economic growth and of strengthening European competitiveness by investing in knowledge, innovation and human capital. The detailed modalities for the implementation of the FP7 are set out in the Specific Programmes and in the rules for participation, to be discussed in detail by the Council.

(1) A partial general approach is a way of fixing Council discussions on non-budgetary elements that are linked to the pending negotiation on the financial perspective for the period 2007-2013. It leaves open the possibility of adjusting agreed parts of a proposal should that be necessary following agreement on budgetary amounts.





The third meeting of the "Space Council" (1) was held between the Council of the EU and the Council of the European Space Agency (ESA). It was jointly chaired by Lord Sainsbury of Turville, president-in-office of the EU Council, and by Mr G-W. Adamowitsch, representing the ESA Council.

The Space Council endorsed the following orientations (2) on global monitoring for environment and security (GMES):

"The objective of GMES is to provide, on a sustained basis, reliable and timely information related to environmental and security issues in support of public policy makers' needs.

The third joint and concomitant meeting of the Council of the European Union and of the Council of the European Space Agency at ministerial level ("Space Council") notes the Communication of the Commission, drafted after consultation within the Joint Secretariat and with other stakeholders.

1. On overall strategy, the "Space Council":

a. Reaffirms the strategic dimension of GMES, which should be user-driven and serviceoriented, meeting initially public sector needs through services delivered in the most efficient way, where possible by the private sector;

b. Recalls the importance of maintaining a European autonomous Earth Observation capacity supporting political decision making;

c. Recalls the importance of the international dimension of GMES - its status as the main European contribution to GEOSS and the need to develop partnerships;

d. Recognises the positive results of the cooperation between the EU, ESA and their Member States in the initial phase of GMES, and recommends that this cooperation continues to play a key and visible role in the overall management of GMES;

e. Supports a phased approach for the implementation of GMES based on clearly identified priorities, starting with the development of three fast-track services on Emergency Response, Land Monitoring, and Marine Services due to begin their pilot phase as operational services by 2008, with other services to be developed and validated in due time;

f. Agrees that, correspondingly, a management structure for GMES has to be progressively developed and welcomes the Commission's intention to set-up an internal GMES organisational structure as the next step in this process;

g. Welcomes the ESA proposal for the development of the space component of GMES and the corresponding Programme Declaration adopted by participating States on September 28 last which includes the development of the first mission of the GMES space component.

2. The Roles and Responsibilities of the EU and ESA, have been identified in the orientations of the second meeting of 'Space Council' and remain valid. Consistent with these, the "Space Council".

a. Notes the Commission's current intention, in view of GMES being an EU-led initiative, to allocate a substantial majority of FP 7 funding which is earmarked for space to fund GMES and, from this allocation, to fund both GMES services and a significant proportion of the budget for the GMES Space Component until 2013, once the FP 7 funding has been approved;

b. Requests the Council and the European Parliament to explore possible further funding sources in the Community-budget enabling the Community to finance operational costs of GMES services;

c. Notes that a confirmation point will occur for the ESA programme in the 2008 timeframe, taking into account the decision on EC funding for GMES and the further consolidation of user requirements for the next phase of GMES;

d. Further underlines that it is essential that this ESA Programme continues to be developed in a way that is demonstrably coherent with the emerging user requirements being aggregated by EC. The continuity of data necessary to the establishment of GMES services on an operational basis needs to be provided making the best use of existing and planned European satellite and in-situ systems;

3. On Implementation, the "Space Council"

a. Confirms the need to develop a comprehensive programme plan, addressing an overall GMES architecture, including the interrelationship between the components, and consolidating user requirements, costs & benefits and the financial resources necessary for the implementation of a phased operational GMES system. It also confirms the need of outlining, in close liaison between EC, ESA and their Member States, the policy to be followed for accessing the information produced by GMES services. This should be prepared as soon as possible in order to be available after the EU Member States have reached agreement on the Financial Perspectives;

b. Requests that best use of existing and planned satellite and in-situ systems on European and national level is being made in order to efficiently ensure the continuity of data necessary to the establishment of operational GMES services and to avoid duplication;

c. Welcomes the establishment and the mandate of a group of experts, involving Member States, EC, ESA and other organisations, to evaluate the most appropriate structure for the longer-term governance and implementation of GMES;

d. Invites those Member States, which already possess or are in the process of building up assets and capacities which could be valuable for GMES, including those existing in other European agencies and organisations such as EUMETSAT, to make their capacities available to the GMES services under appropriate conditions."

The Space Council held also an exchange of views on international cooperation based on a discussion paper tabled jointly by the EU and ESA presidencies (14499/1/05). The main issues put forward for debate were the following:

- the need to develop an overall cooperation strategy;

- the EU/ESA roles and responsibilities;

- the financial principles that should apply in funding.

Ministers also listened to an oral report on the progress of the European space policy from Mr Günter Verheugen, European Commission vice-president and the ESA director-general Mr Jean-Jacques Dordain.

(1) A framework agreement between the EU and the ESA, in force since May 2004, provides a common base for developing a European space policy. The agreement establishes regular joint and concomitant meetings of the Council of the EU and of the Council of ESA at ministerial level, namely the "Space Council", for coordinating and facilitating cooperative activities.

(2) Orientations are agreed by consensus between the two organisations and formally adopted by each organisation according to its own internal procedures.

EU Council
News release 14155/05 (Presse 287) Previous Item Back to Titles Print Item

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