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MEPs take a stand on Galileo and GMES

The European Parliament has called on EU bodies to properly fund both the Galileo satellite navigation system and GMES earth observation programme.

Galileo will enable the EU to remain independent from the US in an important strategic field, said Italian centre-right MEP Aldo Patriciello, the lead author of a report on the subject. But Europe could lose its lead if Galileo is not completed on time, he added.

Patriciello has drafted a report called “EU space strategy”, which was approved by the Parliament during a plenary vote in Strasbourg, France on 19 January.

He says that the European Commission’s suggestion to pull the GMES budget out of the regular EU multi-annual financial framework after 2013 would be detrimental to the programme (see RET 21 Dec 11). “The lack of a financing plan providing economic support could mean investment made to date has been fruitless,” Patriciello said.

“Of course, the situation of the European economy makes it difficult to finance all space programmes. Nevertheless, we cannot stop growth… Once the crisis is over, programmes like Galileo and GMES will generate development and employment,” he added.

Galileo’s completion alone will cost an estimated €7 billion under the 2014-2020 financial framework, according to the Commission. This is €1.4bn more than what was envisioned when the project was originally proposed.