Shannon, Ireland, 26 June 2004
Today, the United States and the European Union reached an agreement covering their satellite navigation services, the U.S. Global Positioning System, and Europe's planned Galileo system.
The U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) is a constellation of 28 satellites and ground support facilities, used for a wide array of economic, scientific, and military applications. The satellites broadcast signals that can be converted into precise positioning and timing information anywhere in the world. In 1998, the European Union decided to pursue its own satellite navigation system, known as Galileo, which currently is still in its development phase.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, European Commission Vice-President Loyola de Palacio, and Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen signed the Agreement on the Promotion, Provision, and Use of Galileo and GPS Satellite-Based Navigation Systems and Related Applications. This historic agreement protects Allied security interests, while paving the way for an eventual doubling of satellites that will broadcast a common civil signal worldwide, thereby promoting better and more comprehensive service for all users.
The agreement ensures that Galileo's signals will not harm the navigation warfare capabilities of the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization military forces, ensures that both the United States and the European Union can address individual and mutual security concerns, and calls for non-discrimination and open markets in terms of trade in civil satellite navigation-related goods and services.
Recognizing the added benefit to civil and commercial users if the two independent systems were compatible and interoperable, the United States and the European Union have shared technical analyses and information, resulting in an agreement to establish a common civil signal. The additional availability, precision, and robustness that will be provided by dual GPS-Galileo receivers lays the foundation for a new generation of satellite-based applications and services, promoting research, development, and investment that will benefit business, science, governments, and recreational users alike.