The assembled Ministers and Senior Officials at ESA Head Office
At the last ESA Council Meeting at Ministerial level, in Toulouse in October 1995, the Agency was asked to review its industrial policy and the system for calculating the scale of contributions to its Mandatory Programme. A Resolution adopted at that meeting addressed industrial-policy matters in a specific chapter focusing on three topics:
After a year of work by representatives of ESA's Member States and the Director General to comply with these various requests, the Ministers and senior officials representing the Agency's fourteen Member States, plus Canada as a Cooperating State and the European Commission with Observer status, met again on 4 March to discuss the Director General's proposals for the adaptation of the Agency's industrial policy, the clearance of past return imbalances, and the reform of the system for calculating the scale of contributions to the Agency's mandatory activities. The meeting was chaired by Mr Yvan Ylieff, the Belgian Minister for Science Policy, who had chaired the Toulouse meeting.
Mr Jean-Marie Luton (left) and Mr Yvan Ylieff
Mr Hugo Parr, Chairman of the ESA Council at Delegate Level, opened the discussion by recapitulating the background and context. Mr Jean-Marie Luton, ESA's Director General, having emphasised the Agency's successes to date, stressed the importance of industrial-policy reform in the general context of the Agency's evolution.
Endorsing the main objectives assigned at the Toulouse meeting, namely:
the Council at Ministerial Level decided to:
The new policy will be introduced gradually over the period 1997 to 1999, and special measures will be taken to compensate for the past deficits accumulated by certain Member States.
Finally, the Council at Ministerial Level decided to meet again in 1998 to take decisions on the Agency's future programmes from the perspective of an overall strategy encompassing the roles of other European bodies involved in the space sector.
At the end of the meeting, Mr Ylieff said:
'I am especially pleased that we have adopted a resolution making a major step towards even better use of public investment in the space sector of Europe's industrial fabric and capacity for innovation, while strengthening our competitiveness on World markets.