European Cooperating States
In 2001, ESA defined a new agreement opening up opportunities for four European states, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania, to participate more closely in ESA programmes.
The aim is to stimulate relations with interested European countries, to expand the overall European scientific and industrial base and to enrich ESA as a research and development organisation.
To be a candidate for this agreement, a country must be European and already have signed a Framework Agreement with ESA. The new ECS Agreement is a bilateral engagement between that country and ESA, and it allows the partner country to participate indirectly in all ESA procurements and activities.
In each case, the participation is to be defined in a five-year Plan for European Cooperating State (PECS) to be jointly agreed by ESA and the country concerned.
In March 2013, Latvia became the seventh European Cooperating State, following Slovenia in 2010, Estonia in 2009, Poland in 2007, Romania in 2006, and Hungary and the Czech Republic in 2003. Other countries are in negotiation with ESA about joining this initiative.
The Czech Republic, Romania and Poland became full Member States in November 2008, December 2011 and September 2012 respectively.
Last update: 19 March 2013