EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY
COUNCIL OF MINISTERS RESOLUTION ON
Accelerating the Use of Space in Europe
(“The Matosinhos Manifesto”)
(adopted on 19 November 2021 in Matosinhos, Portugal)
The Council, meeting at ministerial level,
CONVINCED that in times of unprecedented challenges facing Europe and the world at large, it is the moment to contribute with bold, shared ambitions to solutions enabled by space, a sector that is ever more indispensable for our common future,
HAVING REGARD to the ESA Director General’s ‘Agenda 2025’ (ESA/C(2021)51) as a vision for Europe to maintain and expand its excellence in space, for the benefit of everyone on Earth and in Europe in particular,
HAVING REGARD to the Report of the High-Level Advisory Group on Accelerating the Use of Space in Europe (ESA/C(2021)147) and in particular the recommendation contained therein to embark on a new ‘Accelerator’ approach in selected areas of urgency and societal relevance,
HAVING REGARD to the Convention for the establishment of a European Space Agency (hereinafter ‘the ESA Convention’) which entered into force on 30 October 1980, and RECALLING the purpose of ESA established in Article II thereof,
HAVING REGARD to the Resolutions adopted by Council, meeting at ministerial level in Luzern in 2016 (ESA/C-M/CCLXIV/Res.1 (Final)), in Madrid in 2018 (ESA/CM/CCLXXVI/Res.1 (Final)) and in Sevilla in 2019 (ESA/C-M/CCLXXXVI/Res.1 (Final)), RECALLING in particular that ESA Member States shall continue to act, notably within the framework of the ESA Convention, across all space domains,
HAVING REGARD to the Framework Agreement between the European Community and the European Space Agency which entered into force on 28 May 2004 (ESA/LEG/279), as well as the successful conclusion and entry into force of the Financial Framework Partnership Agreement between the European Commission, representing the European Union, the European Union Agency for the Space Programme and the European Space Agency (ESA/LEG/518) as the basis of a reinforced reciprocal relationship, RECALLING in particular Article 26 thereof, together with the ‘Agenda 2025’ priority of strengthening the relations between ESA and the European Union,
HAVING REGARD to the ever-increasing significance that space plays around the world, notably for the strategic agendas of major political powers and for the dynamics of the private sector, and CONVINCED therefore of the urgency to act for Europe to jointly define ambitious objectives and prepare the necessary decisions to “make space for Europe”, with its citizens as an integral part of such endeavour,
I. Global challenges and a space sector in transformation
- OBSERVES that present-day societal circumstances and the state of the global environment pose severe challenges which demand urgent, robust and sustainable solutions to which Europe can contribute in a collective manner through ambitious and future-defining initiatives.
- NOTES the astounding pace of transformation of the global space sector, in an evolving geopolitical context and with successful commercialisation efforts at an unpreceded rate, CONVINCED that space is a crucial enabler and thus uniquely positioned to make a difference, and that concerted action to increase its economic and societal impact will further strengthen Europe’s role as a global partner and leader.
- RECOGNISES the wide range of public and private actors successfully shaping the European space landscape, calling for efficient cooperation among them in a continued effort to create a more resilient, autonomous and innovative European space ecosystem; and CONSIDERS multilateral international cooperation indispensable for tackling global challenges and fostering the sustainable use of outer space.
- RECOGNISES that the ESA Director General has defined, in Agenda 2025, a set of five high-level priorities, and AFFIRMS its conviction that these priorities represent the basis for further action as well as an opportunity to contribute to a green, digital, cyber-resilient, safe and inclusive Europe and world.
- WELCOMES the Report of the High-Level Advisory Group on Accelerating the Use of Space in Europe presented to the Member States at the occasion of the ESA Council meeting in October 2021, and in particular the Advisory Group’s recommendations on accelerating thematic priorities of societal relevance.
- ACKNOWLEDGES that the idea of Accelerators, to be implemented consistently with the ESA Convention, inclusively and for the long-term benefit of all Member States, will promote an innovative and competitive European space sector, responding to the urgency to act in tackling global challenges, in full synergy with, and complementing, existing initiatives and capabilities, and respecting the competencies of the Member States and the European Union.
II. Thematic priorities to accelerate the European space sector
- ACKNOWLEDGES that a Space for a Green Future Accelerator holds the potential to better understand the current state of Earth, to develop scenarios and solutions for sustainable life on Earth and to contribute effectively to achieving climate neutrality with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, at a moment when it is urgent and relevant for Europe to act based on autonomous access to knowledge and technology.
- NOTES that a Rapid and Resilient Crisis Response Accelerator holds the potential to support stakeholders to decisively act on crises facing Europe, at a moment when it is urgent and relevant for Europe to have the necessary toolsets at hand for taking effective decisions and actions, without prejudice to sovereign competencies of the Member States in the field of defence and security and to the competencies of European Union bodies in charge of implementing the Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy.
- UNDERSTANDS that a Protection of Space Assets Accelerator could offer the potential to contribute to safeguarding and protecting European assets from space debris and space weather interferences, in synergy with relevant national, EU or other European initiatives, at a moment when it is urgent and relevant for Europe to ensure available and resilient infrastructure and services for its society and economy.
- RECOGNISES that the implementation of such Accelerators, with particular priority to Space for a Green Future, provides an opportunity to put the reinforced European space cooperation into action, combining the strengths and resources of ESA and its Member States with those of other public and private partners to the benefit of Europe and its citizens at large.
- NOTES that, beyond the immediate societal urgency underpinning such Accelerators, European leadership in science, technology development and inspiration could be reinforced in particular by ‘Inspirators’ such as an icy moon sample return mission and human space exploration; and NOTES that this also holds the potential to promote commercialisation, a modern, forward-looking European entrepreneurial landscape, multilateral cooperation, education, the development of human capital and STEM.
III. Towards the ESA Council at Ministerial Level and an informal European Space Summit in 2022
- AFFIRMS its expectation that the present Resolution, adopted at the occasion of the IMM21, serves as the prelude for common actions to expand Europe’s role as an international actor and partner and to pave the way to an ever more competitive and thriving European space sector.
- UNDERLINES its conviction that the next ESA Council meeting at ministerial level and an informal European Space Summit, to be held in 2022, will be important steps for boosting the European space economy, fostering its competitiveness, engaging citizens, inspiring the next generation, ensuring future workforce and talent, delivering societal benefits and, therefore, securing a strengthened, sustainable future of space in Europe and Europe in space.
- MANDATES the ESA Director General, building on this Resolution, to develop in concert with the Agency’s Member States the governance and funding concepts of the Accelerators, proposing to Council required actions starting with the Space for a Green Future Accelerator; INVITES him to prepare the coming ESA meetings at ministerial level together with the Member States accordingly; and CALLS upon him to consult and cooperate with the European Union, in particular in view of the informal European Space Summit, and with other actors as appropriate.
- INVITES the ESA Director General to make proposals to Council on the future evolution of ESA, capitalizing on its unique mechanisms, capabilities and achievements and in furtherance of the Agency’s objectives and purpose as laid down in the ESA Convention.