European Parliament: EU space projects should be financed from the EU budget
The Members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs adopted by a large majority (43 yes, 6 no) a report by Karl von Wogau (EPP-ED, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence) on Space and Security.
The report points to the importance of the space dimension to the security of the European Union and the need for a common approach necessary for exerting European sovereignty in space.
In his speech at the committee meeting Karl von Wogau stressed the fact that the European Security Strategy of 2003 uses the term security in its broad sense which includes the protection of our common outside borders, the protection of critical infrastructure, civil protection in the event of natural and man-made disasters, monitoring of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, verification of international treaties and crises and civilian and military missions and operations under the command of the European Union:
"Experience has shown that the technical deficits are often the same in all of these areas. We need space assets for observation, telecommunication and navigation.
We send soldiers and civilian personnel into dangerous operations and we have to ensure that they get reliable and complete information and adequate equipment. To this end, the EU needs for the efficiency of its ESDP a full range of space based systems which would enable it to watch, listen, communicate and navigate accurately."
In the report, the European Parliament urges the EU Member States having access to the various types of radar, optical and weather observation satellites and reconnaissance systems to make them compatible and to make the imagery available to the EU Satellite Centre and for ESDP operations. The report also recommends that the MUSIS system be brought within a European framework and financed from the EU budget.
The report emphasises the importance of GMES for foreign as well as security and defence policies of the European Union.
The report also underlines the necessity of Galileo for autonomous ESDP operations, for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and for Europe’s own security.
Concerning telecommunications the report underlines the necessity of secure satellite-supported communication for ESDP operations and requests that the current and future satellite telecommunication systems at the disposal of the countries of the European Union be mutually interoperable in order to provide for cost reduction. The report supports the cooperative development of a Software Defined Radio (SDR) by the Commission and the European Defence Agency and notes that SDR will contribute to better interoperability of the ground segments of telecommunications systems.
Karl von Wogau also mentioned the necessity of space surveillance:
"We need a European space surveillance system leading to space situational awareness. The functioning of our societies and economies depends more and more from space based systems and we should be able to monitor the space infrastructure, space debris and, possibly, other threats.
I regret that EU Member States do not have access to instant data on ballistic missile launches around the world. We need satellite based early warning against ballistic missile launches such as the French 'Spirale'."
Karl von Wogau pointed out that the EU budget commits expenditure amounting to approximately EUR 5.25 billion in the years 2007-2013 on common European space and security activities resulting in an average expenditure of EUR 750 million per year over that period.
"Experience has shown that large-scale common projects cannot be properly managed when 27 different national budget authorities applying the principle of "fair return" are involved. We therefore strongly recommend that common European space projects and programmes be financed from the EU budget."
For more information:
Office of Karl von Wogau, Brussels