6 December 2011
Meeting in Brussels today, the 29 ministers of the ESA-EU Space Council underlined the importance of space systems for security. They drew attention to the role of satellite systems - particularly Galileo, EGNOS and GMES - as the backbone for improving Europe's response to emergencies.
Pre-operational Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) services are already available. The ministers from EU and ESA Member States urged the European Commission to accelerate the transition to full operations, in support of EU external actions.
The ministers reaffirmed GMES as a priority for the EU, and urged the European Commission to take the necessary and timely actions to secure the continuity of the programme and the services it supplies to users.
Ministers highlighted the fact that the policy governing the availability of GMES data is crucial to the secure use of services and to the development of sustainable markets in the value-adding sector.
GMES will work hand-in-hand with the high-accuracy Public Regulated Service of Europe's Galileo navigation satellite system.
Ministers also stressed that satellite communications represent a key capability in any crisis management operation, especially when ground infrastructures are damaged or destroyed.
As well as calling on the European Commission to ensure the optimal use of space solutions in Europe's coordination of civil protection, the ministers also turned their attention to the need to protect the satellites.
Ministers expressed concern about the risks that space weather and space debris can pose to space assets. They took good note of the recently established user requirements for systems designed to monitor and protect space assets and called on the EU, ESA and their Member States initially to exploit fully all existing capacities in this area.
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