The European Parliament supported the creation of the space program of the EU. Her plan to allocate about 17 billion euros over seven years. The EU no longer want to rely on the United States and see an opportunity to cooperate with Russia.
The European Parliament approved the space programme of the EU 2021-2027 years. For it at the plenary session in Strasbourg on Wednesday, April 17, voted 560 MEPs. 63 parliamentarians voted against and 32 abstained, reports DW. Now the program should take the Council of the EU.
The European Union – the second player in space
“This is an important document that demonstrates our intention to maintain and strengthen the EU’s position as the second space forces,” – said before the vote, European Commissioner for internal market and industry Elzbieta Benkovska.
The European Parliament has prescribed the financing of the program at the level of 16.9 billion euros for the seven-year period is 16 billion proposed by the European Commission. However, this figure may change in the course of adopting long-term EU budget. In 2014-2020, the space budget of the EU amounted to 12.6 billion euros.
For comparison, the annual budget for NASA alone is around 20 billion US dollars. It should be noted that the figure of 16.9 billion euros applies only to EU programmes and does not include the budget of the European space Agency (5.7 billion Euro in 2019), because the composition of participating States differs from that of the EU. In General, however, Europe really is on the second place on volume of funds invested in the space program.
The EU is dissatisfied with the protectionism of competitors
In the document adopted by the European Parliament, among other space-faring Nations are referred to only in the United States, and once in the context of cooperation in the tracking of objects in orbit.
In the explanatory note to the program’s main competitors named by the US, Russia and China. The EU complain about protectionism these three States in relation to their space markets. “Consequently, international competitors can offer services to launch (into space. – Ed.) at much more competitive prices than the European industry”, – stated in the note and offered to create equal rules for all games.
For its part, the EU wants to make the effort to have “independent access” to space. It is understood the ability how to build satellites and launch them into space.
The joint programme of European Union
As of today, the EU has no unified space program. Instead, there are a variety of programs. Now they plan to merge into one, where there will be five main components. Three of them are already working:
– The satellite navigation system Galileo, which, unlike the American GPS and Russian GLONASS, in particular civil system. Galileo should be significantly more accurate than GPS, but it is not yet fully operational.
– EGNOS system, which improves the signal navigation systems. In particular it assists in air traffic control.
System Earth observation Copernicus, allowing to obtain accurate data about our planet, such as images of its surface.
It will add two new elements:
– SSA – a system of tracking objects in Earth orbit and space weather. As you know, in space around the Earth is now a huge number of different objects, including debris that creates a hazard to satellites.
Service space secure communications for government services GOVSATCOM.
To manage all these systems will create a separate structure – the EU Agency for the space program. The European Commission promised that the duplication of the role of the European space Agency.
Can rely on someone in the EU?
Debates about programs held in the European Parliament earlier in December 2018. Then the MEP from the European people’s party Werner Kuhn (Werner Kuhn) noted that the EU can no longer rely on the “friends on the other side of the Atlantic”, as it was before. “I think cooperation with Russia and China could be trusted, but in the digital age, Europe needs its own space program,” – said the politician from Germany.
His colleague from the faction of the social Democrats John Howarth warned against in order to focus on “exclusivity” of the space industry of the EU. “The problem is that there is no such thing as exclusively European satellite, the global space, and any other approach to it could prove a costly mistake,” – said the MEP from the UK who are in process of withdrawal from the EU.
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