Space technology, data and services have become indispensable in the daily lives of Europeans and for Europe to pursue its strategic interests. Thanks to major investments, the EU has a strong edge in space activities and the European space industry is one of the most competitive. However, there are many new challenges and actors across the world. The new EU Space Programme will invest more in space activities, adapting to new needs and technologies, while reinforcing Europe’s autonomous access to space.
Vice-President of the Commission Maroš Šefčovič said: “EU investment in space has already delivered world-class results to the benefit of European citizens and businesses. Over 10% of the EU’s GDP is already dependent on space-related services and major investments by the EU have enabled progress that no Member State could have achieved on its own. But we need to up our game. Space data can help our industries lead on the Internet of Things and automated driving, and help us more accurately monitor greenhouse gas emissions to make our climate action more effective than ever before.”
Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, added: “Space matters for Europe. The value of EU space activities for our society, our economy and our security is remarkable. Our roadmap is clear: maintain and upgrade the existing infrastructure for Galileo and Copernicus, increase the use of space data, foster a European ‘NewSpace’ of innovative start-ups, and increase the security of Europeans. Today we are putting our ambition and vision into a concrete programme so that Europe can remain a global leader in Space and is better equipped to answer the profound changes undergoing in the space sector.”
The Commission’s proposal will bring all existing and new space activities under the umbrella of a single programme. The new space programme will maintain existing infrastructure and services and introduce a number of new features:
- Fostering a strong and innovative space industry: The new space programme will improve access for space start-ups to risk finance. At the same time, the Commission will explore the creation of a dedicated equity instrument through the InvestEU programme. The new space programme will create innovation partnerships to develop and purchase innovative products and services; facilitate access to testing and processing facilities for start-ups; and promote certification and standardisation. The programme will be rolled out together with Horizon Europe, ensuring collaboration between space-related research and innovation actions;
- Maintaining the EU’s autonomous, reliable and cost-effective access to space: Europe’s strategic autonomy is particularly important as regards critical infrastructure, technology, security and defence. Given that the EU is the largest institutional customer, the Commission will aggregate the EU demand of launch services, providing investment and supporting the use of innovative technology such as reusable launchers, and contribute to the adaptation of the necessary ground infrastructure.
- A unified and simplified system of governance: The EU will ensure that the increase in financial investment is supported by efficient decision-making so that all EU space activities are rolled out on time and on budget. The Commission will continue to be responsible for managing the overall programme. The intergovernmental European Space Agency (ESA), given its unmatched expertise, will remain a major partner in the technical and operational implementation of the EU space programme. The European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency, to be renamed the ‘EU Agency for the Space Programme’, will increasingly support the exploitation and market uptake of EU space activities and play an increased role in ensuring the security of all the components of the programme.
The Commission proposes to allocate the €16 billion budget for 2021-2027 as follows:
- €9.7 billion [$11.44 billion] for Galileo and EGNOS, the EU’s global and regional satellite navigation systems: This will fund continued investment in operations and infrastructure to complete and maintain the constellation, the development of an enhanced precision signal and support for the market uptake of the satellite navigation services to the benefit of autonomous and connected cars, the Internet of Things, smart phones and traffic management;
- €5.8 billion [$6.84 billion] for Copernicus, the EU’s Earth Observation programme: This will maintain the EU’s autonomy and leadership in high-quality environmental monitoring, emergency management and support for border and maritime security. New Copernicus missions such as CO2 monitoring will enable the EU to become a technological leader in the fight against climate change, in line with the commitments made under the Paris Agreement. The Copernicus Data and Information Access Services (DIAS) will make it much easier for SMEs and start-ups to exploit Copernicus data and develop innovative applications;
- €500 million [$590 million] to develop new security components: The new space programme will enhance the performance and autonomy of Space and Situational Awareness (SSA), which helps avoid collisions in space and monitors the re-entry of space objects to Earth. It will also address space hazards linked to solar activities and asteroids or comets threatening critical infrastructures.A new Governmental Satellite Communication (GOVSATCOM) initiative will provide Member States with reliable, secure and cost-effective access to secure satellite communications and support police border protection, diplomatic communities or civil protection and humanitarian interventions.
A swift agreement on the overall long-term EU budget and its sectoral proposals is essential to ensure that EU funds start delivering results as soon as possible. Delays similar to the ones experienced at the beginning of the current 2014-2020 budgetary period would mean that investments in the EU’s space activities – Galileo, EGNOS and Copernicus – would be put at risk and new services would be delayed. Investments in space programmes span decades and imply great risks. They require programme management decisions be planned long in advance.
An agreement on the next long-term budget in 2019 would provide for a seamless transition between the current long-term budget (2014-2020) and the new one and would ensure predictability and continuity of space activities to the benefit of all.
Space technology, data and services have become indispensable in the daily lives of Europeans and play an essential role in preserving many strategic interests. Major investments by the EU have enabled progress that no Member State could have achieved on its own.
Today’s proposal builds on the Space Strategy for Europe of October 2016 and on the Industrial Policy Strategy presented by President Juncker in his 2017 State of the Union address. They are a both a strategic vision for a smart, innovative and sustainable industry in response to growing global competition and major technological shifts.
The proposal aims to ensure that EU remains a global leader in the space domain. It will ensure investment continuity in EU space activities, encourage scientific and technical progress and support the competitiveness and innovation capacity of the European space industry, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises, start-ups and innovative businesses. It will also support EU action in areas such as high performance computing, climate change or security.
The new EU Space Programme: Questions and Answers
- Proposal for a Regulation
- Impact assessment
- Executive summary
- Factsheet: space policy and activities beyond 2020
More information on the EU budget for the future can be found here