On 8 May, representatives of European Cooperating States met at ESA headquarters in Paris to establish the PECS Committee – the Committee for the Plan for European Cooperating States.
Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director General of ESA opened the session underlining the importance of this meeting which brought together for the first time the European Cooperating States (ECS) at ESA. These countries are involved in the definition of the European Space Policy and have expressed their wish to join the Agency in the medium term.
Present at this historic event were 15 delegates including representatives of ECS, observers from ESA Committees and delegations.
To date, ESA has concluded four ECS agreements. The first was signed with Hungary in April 2003, followed by ECS agreements with the Czech Republic in November 2003 and Romania in February 2006. Poland became the latest ECS country when it signed an agreement with ESA in April this year.
Within a year of signing an ECS agreement, each country should sign a PECS Charter - a five-year plan jointly agreed between ESA and the ECS which sets out the ESA activities in which the country will participate as well as its financial commitments. These include an agreement to commit a minimum of €1 million per year, for five years, to strengthen the country’s space industry.
On the agenda
This first meeting was called to discuss and monitor the activities of the ECS within ESA programmes and to form the PECS Committee.
The first items to be discussed were the terms of reference and rules of procedure for the new committee. These were unanimously approved by the Committee.
Next on the agenda was the election of a Chair and Vice Chair. Elod Both, head of the Hungarian delegation, was elected chairman while Jan Kolar, head of the delegation of the Czech Republic, was elected vice chairman.
ESA gave a general presentation recapping on the objectives of PECS. These include in particular strengthening industrial expertise and the space industry network in each ECS, to allow a fair and equitable participation in future Agency programmes, encouraging cooperation between scientific communities in ESA Member States and ECS, and helping countries to become more familiar with ESA's working methods and decision making processes, paving the way for joining the Agency.
“This first meeting is a significant step forward in the relations between ESA and new EU Member States. It represents a successful milestone of the work started some years ago within the ESA Council in order to integrate smoothly these new EU Member States in ESA activities,” said René Oosterlinck, Director of Legal Affairs and External Relations.
For further information please contact:
Anabelle Fonseca Colomb, International Relations Department
+33 15369 7238
Head of Section New, Cooperating and Associate States
Tel. +31 (0)71 565 5295