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The EU's new space programme: a boost for jobs and sustainable growth  

As the EU launched its new space programme last June, the European Committee of the Regions warns about the duplication of structures and requests that available funding focuses on the space industry and its market development

The importance of satellite data is essential in today's economy not least under unpredictable geopolitical environments. The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) s upports the European Commission's (EC) vision of the EU Strategy for Space, and its implementation through €16 billion Space Programme . Yet, members request the Commission to clarify on the development of space hubs, to avoid duplication of administrative structures and to focus on the market development of space technologies and services along with formal and informal education programmes that can inspire new generations of researchers and entrepreneurs in the space domain. The EU is investing €12 billion over 2014-2020 to develop high quality space projects ( EC ).

The European Committee of the Regions adopted an opinion on 'The space programme of the Union and the European Union Agency for the Space Programme' last plenary session on 5-6 December.

The EU's assembly of local and regional representatives is contributing to the EC new space programme presented on 6 June 2018. The new proposal intends to enhance the EU's space initiatives and leading space industry worth €53-62 billion in 2017 with over 231.000 employees.

Rapporteur Andres Jaadla (ET/ALDE) declared: "Space technologies, data and services can support numerous policies and key political priorities, including the competitiveness of the European economy, migration, climate change, the Digital Single Market and sustainable management of natural resources. We must maximise the potential of space data and services for the sustainable development of our cities and regions, through the creation of space hubs and technology incubators for SMEs and by developing new market opportunities and educational programmes to fully exploit the uptake of the space domain".

Members call on the European Commission to further clarify and elaborate on the concept and creation of space hubs and innovation partnerships, more specifically on the financial and management responsibilities of different actors.

The CoR welcomes the proposal for a Space Surveillance and Tracking System (SST). Yet it asks the European Commission to clarify its scope including the ways through which stakeholders will be involved and existing services integrated. Besides, SST, the Commission's proposal includes GOVSATCOM, a new initiative on Governmental Satellite Communications .

Data from Copernicus should be further widespread and additional measures should be deployed to facilitate data access for SMEs, members' claim.

The CoR requests to closely monitor the potential duplication of administrative structures, in particular between the GSA (European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency) and the European Space Agency (ESA)

EU cities and regions request to prioritise the allocation of financial resources for space industry development over new organizational structures.

The CoR welcomes the €4 billion budget increase. Yet members demand that the up-take budget for EGNOS/Galileo does not cover costs of new administrative structures but focus exclusively on market development.

CoR memebrs regret that the Horizon programme does not include dedicated funding on space. Synergies between research and industry are not emphasized enough, Members say.

It is crucial that businesses, universities and research institutes continue and increase their participation in programmes of the European Space Agency (ESA), members agree. The CoR requests the EU SME instrument to scale-up entrepreneurship and business opportunities in space-based products and services.

Space technologies and applications have the potential to inspire new generations of researchers and entrepreneurs in Europe. In the adopted opinion, the CoR recommends to public authorities to support formal and informal educational measures to inspire young students.

The CoR recommends to public authorities to create market-oriented funding instruments for small and medium-sized firms for the further development and market uptake of space technologies, including specific support to technology incubators for start-ups in the space domain.

Members denounce the lack of a level playing field in the space domain. Countries with large defence sectors have a competitive advantage that Europe must remedy by equalling market conditions and support across Europe, with a particular attention to small countries due to limited human and financial resources.

EU cities and regions recommend finding additional synergies in cyber security, key in space activities such as ground segment and data protection.

The CoR requests the European Commission to better specify how the new programme will interact with commercial suppliers of security-related data and to better specify cooperation with private entities including joint procurement options.


The former Mayor of the Estonian city of Rakvere and now city councillor Andres Jaadla (ET/ALDE) is the rapporteur of the CoR opinion on a Space Strategy for Europe adopted at the plenary session of October 2017.

October 2016 EC Press Release . Commission space policy puts focus on improving people's daily lives and boosting Europe's competitiveness


Galileo is Europe’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), providing improved positioning and timing information with significant positive implications for many European services and users. Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) refers to a constellation of satellites providing signals from space that transmit positioning and timing data. The receivers then use this data to determine location. By definition, GNSS provides global coverage. Examples of GNSS include Europe’s Galileo , the USA’s NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS), Russia’s GLONASS and China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System.


Copernicus is the European Union's Earth Observation Programme, looking at our planet and its environment for the ultimate benefit of all European citizens. It offers information services based on satellite Earth Observation and in situ (non-space) data. The information provided by the Copernicus services can be used by end users for a wide range of applications in a variety of areas. These include urban area management, sustainable development and nature protection, regional and local planning, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, health, civil protection, infrastructure, transport and mobility, as well as tourism.

The Copernicus programme is coordinated and managed by the European Commission. The development of the observation infrastructure is performed under the aegis of the European Space Agency for the space component and of the European Environment Agency and the Member States for the in situ component.

GOVSATCOM refers to Governmental Satellite Communications (GovSatcom) .

Photos of the Plenary Session are available here .

Contact: David Crous | | +32 (0) 470 88 10 37

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