Space for Europe’s citizens

Jean-Jacques Dordain and Herman van Rompuy
14 April 2011

On 1 April ESA’s Director General, Jean-Jacques Dordain, met Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Council, to share their views on the latest developments in ESA-EU relations.

In particular they welcomed the Commission’s Communication ‘Towards a space strategy for the EU that benefits its citizens’.

This document, prepared by the Commission, addresses the European Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee, and the Committee of the Regions. It sets out the main actions to be taken on EU space policy.

They discussed how to extend Europe’s leadership in space to a leadership in policies that can benefit from the use of space, in fields such as: agriculture, environment, climate change, transport, humanitarian aid and crisis response, sustainable development, maritime surveillance, international relations, security and defence.

The need to foresee a budget for space in the EU multiannual financial framework 2014–20 was also discussed. This would allow the EU to fund the operation and exploitation of large European infrastructures that benefit all European citizens, such as the Galileo satellite navigation system, the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) satellite programme and the Space Situational Awareness programme under development, which aims at protecting Europe’s citizens and satellite-based services by detecting space hazards.

The importance of developing key generic technologies and supporting research of critical and breakthrough technologies was also stressed. Mr Dordain underlined the need to have an efficient and effective industrial policy for space at EU level.

Also mentioned by Mr Dordain was the critical role that space data has played during the Japanese natural disaster and the southern Mediterranean political crisis.

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