Strong support for GMES at space conference
At the conference on ‘The Ambitions of Europe in Space’, which was held on 15 and 16 October in Brussels, the GMES initiative was presented as a programme of fundamental importance for Europe’s future.
The event brought together members of the European Parliament, Council, European Commission, agencies, industry, research entities, operators, financing institutions as well as interested people from the media and public. It was dedicated to the evaluation of ongoing European space programmes and to their prospective technological, industrial and societal benefits.
In his opening speech, the newly re-elected president of the European Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso, noted that space is an enabling tool allowing Europe to face some fundamental challenges: fighting the economic crisis, ensuring the well-being of our citizens, tackling climate change, finding ways to unleash our full potential for innovation and job creation, and to bring about a true knowledge society, as well as reinforcing Europe’s position in the world scene. He underlined the role of the EU as leader in the GMES and Galileo projects, which are of fundamental importance for Europe’s future.
ESA’s Volker Liebig, Director of the Earth Observation Programmes, delivered a speech where he presented first the status of the ESA/EU partnership, with the lessons learned so far and the challenges ahead. Several issues were stressed concerning the needed progress in the EC/ESA cooperation on governance, procurement rules for joint programmes, and above all, the funding strategy to support GMES operations and new space infrastructure developments. He stated that, “This is not only an extraordinary undertaking, but an equally extraordinary responsibility.”
A special session was organised on the status of GMES and Galileo, where Mr. Valère Moutarlier, Head of the EC GMES Bureau, presented the overall status of the programme while Josef Aschbacher, Head of the ESA GMES Space Office, elaborated on the GMES Space Component and ESA's role within GMES. He underlined the challenges ahead for GMES, in particular the definition of an adequate financing strategy as well as a procurement policy that ensures an uninterrupted transition from the build-up to the operational phase.