Ministers in charge of space activities representing ESA Member States and the EU met in Brussels for the Sixth Space Council.
Ministers called for action to mobilise existing innovation support mechanisms, to ensure cross-fertilisation of innovation and ideas between space and non-space sectors, and between space industry, leading research organisations and universities.
This followed the conclusions of the European Council of 11-12 December 2008 in support of the European Economic Recovery Plan and its call for the launch of a European Plan for Innovation which should also include space technology and services derived from it, as one of the main technologies of the future.
The Council specifically highlighted the potential of satellite communications technologies to bring broadband to European citizens and enterprises, ensuring better access to modern information and communications technology, particularly in rural and remote areas, calling on the Commission, ESA, and the EU and ESA Member States to consider integrating satellite technologies in future broadband projects.
The Council was jointly chaired by Miroslava Kopicová, the Czech Republic’s Minister of Education, on behalf of the EU Competitiveness Council, and Mariastella Gelmini, Italian Minister for Education, University and Research and current Chair of the ESA Council at Ministerial Level.
Günter Verheugen, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Enterprise & Industry, and Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA Director General, also took part.