On 22 May Ministers in charge of space activities in the Member States of the European Space Agency (ESA), and those tasked with internal market, industry and research within the European Union’s Competitiveness Council, met in Brussels, Belgium, to adopt a Resolution on the European Space Policy (ESP).
Jointly drafted by the European Commission and the Director General of the European Space Agency, the ESP outlines the strategic guidelines for Europe’s future activities in space. Through this document, the European Union, ESA and their Member States commit themselves to increasing coordination of their activities and programmes and to organizing their respective roles relating to space.
The European Space Policy comes with the preliminary elements of a European Space Programme, which is a planning and strategic tool comprising all Europe’s major space activities. The Programme supports the optimization of public resources and skills when deciding and implementing the policy.
The policy aims to foster better coordination of space activities between the EU, ESA and their respective Member States, to maximize value for money and avoid unsustainable duplication, thus meeting shared European needs. Increased synergy between civil and defense space programmes and technologies is also addressed by the ESP.
The new policy calls for ensuring sustainable funding for space applications, in particular the flagship initiative, Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES). It also recognizes that space is a high value-adding sector, a driver for growth, innovation and employment, and a valuable opportunity provider for European industry. Moreover, it supports the EU's external relations, insofar as the EU, ESA and their Member States will put in place a coordination mechanism to develop a joint strategy for international relations regarding space activities.