Brussels, 15 January 2004
Following the announcement by US President George W. Bush on US space policy, the European Commissioner responsible for research, Philippe Busquin, today welcomed the renewed interest which the United States is showing in space exploration. "Europe is also strengthening its ambitions in space as presented in the White Paper of November 2003 which set out European space policy", Commissioner Busquin added. "In the White Paper, we have highlighted the importance of space exploration as a project exemplifying European cooperation. Moreover, together with the European Space Agency we shall analyse the implications of the new American strategy. Space exploration is a field eminently suited for international scientific cooperation. We therefore welcome President Bush's call for international cooperation."
"However, some elements of the new strategy seem to point to discontinuation of current projects of international cooperation such as the international space station", Mr Busquin continued. "One thing is clear: Europe will be an even more solid, credible and respected partner in the space sector when it is a space power itself. A great deal remains to be done at European level, including ensuring the success of several major initiatives such as GALILEO and GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security), improving launch capacity and strengthening the space centre in Guyana, and securing better synergies between civil and security R&D. Let us not forget that the US Defense Department is still the world leader in the space sector."