On April 19, the Council adopted its first reading position on the proposed regulation establishing the EU space programme for the years 2021 to 2027. This follows up on a deal reached last December with the European Parliament that paves the way for the swift adoption of the draft regulation at second reading.
“The EU relies on space activities as drivers of sustainable economic growth and security. Our new EU space programme will enable us to remain competitive in the New Space economy and to preserve the EU’s space sovereignty. It will boost our economic recovery from the pandemic and our transition towards a green and digital economic model,” said Manuel Heitor, Portuguese Minister for Science and Technology and Higher Education on behalf of the Council.
The new space programme will maximise the socio-economic benefits of Galileo and EGNOS, while contributing to Union’s strategic autonomy, particularly in sensitive sectors and in the area of safety and security, the use of the services provided by EGNOS and Galileo in other Union policies should be promoted also by regulatory means where that is justified and beneficial. Measures to encourage the use of those services in all Member States are also an important part of the process, the Council stated.
The regulation will ensure:
- high-quality, up-to-date and secure space-related data and services;
- greater socio-economic benefits from the use of such data and services, such as increased growth and job creation in the EU;
- enhanced security and autonomy of the EU;
- a stronger role for the EU as a leading actor in the space sector.
It will achieve this by:
- simplifying and streamlining the existing EU legal framework on space policy;
- providing the EU with an adequate space budget to continue and improve on existing space flagship programmes such as EGNOS, Galileo and Copernicus, as well as monitor space hazards under the ‘space situational awareness’ component (SSA) and cater for access to secure satellite communications for national authorities (GOVSATCOM);
- establishing the rules for governance of the EU space programme;
- standardising the security framework of the space programme.
In line with the political agreement reached last December between the co-legislators, the European Parliament is expected to approve the Council’s position at first reading in April 2021. The regulation will then be deemed to have been formally adopted. It will apply retroactively from 1 January 2021.