8 June 2001
Today a hearing took place in the State Duma in Moscow on "Opportunities for Euro-Russia co-operation in space". The meeting was hosted by the President of the State Duma, Gennadi Seleznev, and was organised by the Chairman of the Duma Committee on Education and Science, Ivan Melnikov.
The meeting followed political contacts of the Duma with Philippe Busquin, Commissioner for Research in the European Commission and with Members of the European Parliament. Last year Commissioner Busquin expressed the will to reinforce the EU-Russia initiative "Dialogue on Space" during a meeting with Yuri Koptev, Director General of the Russian Aviation and Space Agency, Rosaviakosmos.
In parallel, Mr Yuri Koptev and Mr. Antonio Rodotà, Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA) have been assessing the possibility of enhancing cooperation between ESA and Rosaviakosmos.
The European delegation consisted of representatives of the European Commission and the European Space Agency, a member of the European Parliament and representatives from industry; the Russian side was composed of legislators, space industry, and representatives from Rosaviakosmos. Participants in the hearing reviewed current joint activities and in particular the impetus which the new European Strategy for Space, adopted by the European Union Research Council and the ESA Council in November 2000, can give to further co-operation between the EU, ESA and the Russian Federation.
The industrial presentations and subsequent discussions highlighted three areas that merit particular attention because of the wide-ranging benefits to be expected from combining efforts:
· launch services
· development of the satellite navigation system GALILEO
· elaboration of the initiative "Global Monitoring for Environment and Security" (GMES) and supporting space-based and information-related activities
Co-operation in these areas promises not only economic benefits in a global marketplace, but also technological, strategic and political benefits.
The participants at this high-level hearing recommended that the joint working group, which was set up by Commissioner Busquin and Director General Koptev in the framework of the Dialogue on Space with full involvement of the European Space Agency, rapidly address these three areas on a political level, building on existing achievements. There is a window of opportunity to move negotiations forward and plan industry work in these areas.
The legislators specifically asked Euro-Russia Working Group to forward its findings to the European Parliament and the State Duma.
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