The WEU Assembly and the European Interparliamentary Space Conference joined forces to hold a colloquy on Space, Defence and European Security in Kourou (French Guiana) in association with the European Space Agency (ESA), France’s national centre for space studies, the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) and Arianespace. The event brought together over a hundred Members of Parliament from European nations along with Members of the European Parliament and senior executives from ESA, CNES, Arianespace and the space industry in Europe.

The main aim of the discussions was to examine the space sector in its application to security and defence and assess industrial capabilities in the light of the challenges Europe faces at the present time. The participants noted the gulf between the strategic ambitions Europe had of its space dimension and the level of funds it was prepared to commit to it, with the risk that Space Europe could lose its head start.

The president of the Interparliamentary European Security and Defence Assembly (WEU Assembly), Jean-Pierre Masseret, emphasised the importance of Europe being able to draw on the full gamut of space-based facilities: earth observation, telecommunications, intelligence, navigation and ballistic missile early warning systems, noting further that this comprehensive range of capabilities played a crucial part in preventing, managing and exiting crises, and would guarantee Europe genuinely autonomous powers of decision and action in security and defence matters.