According to a new study commissioned by the European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee, much still remains to be done to reap the ultimate benefits from the EU’s space policy. Along with outlining the existing EU space policy and the current challenges, the study also suggests several steps that the EU institutions and the EU Member States could take to advance the uptake of the EU space market.
The EU space policy, launched in 2007, is still very young, especially in comparison to competitors such as the US. Current EU efforts in the space sector are centred on the two EU satellite navigation programmes Galileo and Copernicus. The Galileo programme provides highly accurate global positioning services, whereas the Copernicus programme helps monitor the Earth and provides a variety of data sets, useful in a range of industries.
The new study explains the rationales behind EU interventions in the space sector. Notably, the EU recognises the advantages that can be gained by pulling together resources and expertise from the European Space Agency and Member States, as well as the benefits from the development of satellite-based services and products, which could help attain the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy.
The European Commission has already been promoting the uptake of a market based on the use of space data by increasing the budget dedicated to space research, taking legislative actions to create an incentive for a larger use of space satellite data by public and private users, as well as carrying out activities to raise awareness about the Galileo and Copernicus programmes. However, as the study advises, more needs to be done to tackle the barrier currently constraining market development.
According to the study, one of the most important steps to accelerate the space market uptake is the adoption of a long term explicit and common EU space industrial policy, which would set clear objectives and targets. Additionally, existing EU regulations could be reviewed to see where the use of Copernicus data or Galileo services could bring added value. Several other steps, such as improving data accessibility, increasing support for R&D and business development programmes, and harmonising procurement rules, could also be taken to ensure that EU efforts in the space sector bring maximum benefit.
The study on the Space Market Uptake in Europe is available here.