Brussels, 11 Jul 2003
EU Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin has said that while it too early to discuss the contents of the future White Paper on a European space policy, the consultation leading up to the paper has highlighted two priorities: the central role of science and the necessity of independent access to space.
These 'two intangible priorities have been, in this respect, very explicitly reaffirmed,' said Mr Busquin on 10 June, during a visit to the Italian aerospace company Telespazio.
Space will be high on the agenda for the next six months - not only because the White Paper is promised by the end of the year, but also because, according Letizia Moratti, Italy's Minister for Education, Universities and Research, space research will be one of the Italian Presidency's key commitments during its six month tenure.
Speaking at the end of June, Ms Moratti said that space research could boost security and improve people's standard of living. She also highlighted the need for more financial support, which has thus far come from research budgets, but which, she said, should also come from other areas.
In light of the space industry's structural vulnerability in Europe, Mr Busquin argued the case for an institutional initiative, which is necessary to develop demand and to 'maintain the vitality of our industry's competences.'
The responsibility of the EU is growing, said the Commissioner. The Union must not only integrate demand for space applications, but also give shape to Europe's space policy and ensure its visibility.
For further information on the EU's space activities, please consult the following web address: