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27 February 2004

Remarks by Braibanti, Hilbrecht on GPS/Galileo Agreement

Feb. 26: Joint press event in Brussels outlining agreement

A joint statement on principles of cooperation between two satellite navigation systems -- America's GPS, or Global Positioning System, and Europe's Galileo -- was issued in Brussels at the end of the latest round of negotiations February 25.

Following are remarks by Heinz Hilbrecht, director of inland transports at the European Commission, and Ralph Braibanti, director for space and advanced technology at the U.S. State Department, at a joint press event in Brussels the next day:

(begin text)

Opening Remarks
By Heinz Hilbrecht
Director of Inland Transports
European Commission
Breydel Building
February 26, 2004

Heinz Hilbrecht: Good morning, we have had two days of quite good and intensive discussions over the last two days, we have achieved agreement at our level on all topics of substance. You have seen, I hope, the Joint Statement which we both, Ralph and I, signed yesterday. Let me just outline from my side and then Ralph will complement what I think are the major or the essential points of that agreement.

First of all, we have defined the rules of co-existence, so-to-speak, of living together of both satellite navigation systems. That was not only important for the U.S., it was also important for us and a number of our Member States who thought that such an agreement under living together is essential before the Council could decide on the future steps of Galileo.

This co-existence is mainly determined by two sets of criteria. One. the national security criteria, whereby both systems will comply or promise to comply with certain national security thresholds. On the other hand, and that is something which the U.S. only conceded over the last two days, the inclusion of radio frequency criteria. That means that both sides accept that they should not disturb each other on a radio frequency level, and both sides will inform and consult each other on the power and other aspects of their systems antennas, and so on, which are in relation to radio frequency. So this is important. If for example, the U.S. will introduce a new military signal we will be informed (of) what repercussion that could have on Galileo from a radio frequency point of view and if we have concerns we would enter into consultations on that.

We have agreed also on a base line signal structure. Last time I told you that we have already agreed last November in the Hague on a base line for the public regulated service and now we have also agreed on a baseline for the open service which is BOC 1.1. That does not mean that we will apply BOC 1.1 straightforward because in the agreement it was also recognized that we can improve BOC 1.1 further. Actually the question which we raised last time whether we should go for a BOC 1 1/2 or BOC 1.1 has lost a lot of its importance for us over the last weeks because our signal experts have been working very, very intensively over the last two, three months and as I said last time already two, three months is half an eternity in that sector which develops so very fast.

We are now very confident that we will have on the basis of a BOC 1.1, our experts intend to attach other BOC's in a way which is compatible with the national security criteria which respects the thresholds that will allow us to have a performance which is much better. Actually we think now that we will achieve the performance which we initially had defined for Galileo which is around BOC 2.2 even. So there is a huge development from our point of view and the discussion on whether it should be BOC 1.1 or BOC 1 1/2 has had a lot of its drama over the last weeks. So we are quite happy that we can achieve the initially outline performance for the open signal which was always very dear to our hearts.

The system which we are envisaging, and the U.S. for the time being is still envisaging a BOC 1.1, the classic BOC 1.1 for their new open signal. And even with the optimized BOC 1.1, which we are aiming at now, we will still remain interoperable with the GPS. So both systems will remain.

We had three objectives: We want to be interoperable with GPS open signal, we want to respect the national security criteria, and we want to achieve the high performance of which we initially envisaged. And all these three aspect will be guaranteed now under the system which is now tested. As soon as we have finalized the technical specs for the new BOC 1.1 optimized we will inform our American partners and we are confident because we know what the national security criteria are which they apply that we will be confident that we will have no problem in convincing them.

Actually we would expect that over time this new BOC 1.1 optimized will become the standard even so the U.S. can stay with the classic BOC 1.1 because interoperability will be guaranteed. We would expect that over time the market will decide that the optimized signal is much better than the classic signal and that will become the standard over time.

What is also important for us is that the agreement is not just an agreement which is tailored made to protect the M-code. It is an agreement which is balanced, which recognizes that all systems need to be protected. What is very important for us also is that the U.S. has accepted to study means of protecting the PRS system. You can imagine that our PRS system, which is a civil classified and high-security signal, may be used close or even in areas of crisis for peace operations, etc. or for the coast guard and in other sensitive areas. And we want to have an agreement with the U.S., which we are going to develop, and this agreement is the basis for how the PRS system can be protected.

We have achieved huge understanding on interoperability questions. I mentioned that already last time, which is very important for us. We have achieved 100% understanding on how to cooperate on the basis of non-discrimination and to allow access to commercial and open signals for end users on both sides of the Atlantic. Also for the companies who want to produce those commercial receivers. We will have exchange of standards and other information for the commercial community. That is all very great.

We also have agreed on four working groups which are very important to both sides. We will have a working group on interoperability issues, so we will continue to watch that the systems remain interoperable. We will have a working group on the future design system, both sides are interested to exchange views on the modernization on both systems for the future. We will have one working group on trade which will look into the non-discrimination issues which are important to both sides. In fact under non-discrimination we have also come to the understanding that WTO rules will be applicable when both systems are in force. And we have a working group on security issues which will also discuss for example how the different signals, civil and military signals, work together on interface, etc. I think these are the main elements which are important to both sides.

It is a very good agreement for both sides and we are very happy that we achieved a conclusion on the substance. So why didn't we paraph the agreement yesterday? Actually we have a couple of formal or legal questions outstanding, which the legal services of both sides are now discussing. They have started yesterday and they have another meeting this afternoon.

This is all about the question of the mixity of this agreement. You know that this is a mixed agreement which will be signed and ratified by the Community but also by all 25 Member States. We have had mixed agreement over the last 40 years, I think with almost all countries of the world, but Japan and the U.S.. So this is the first mixed agreement that the U.S. is going to conclude with the Community and of course there is a learning process, if I may say so for our American partners to understand what it is. I always say a mixed agreement, this is something like in the Christian church, it is the Holy Trinity. You have three parts of it, all separate, but united. And so we have here a Community with 25 Member States as of the 1st of May and the Community itself. All different parties, but all one part, and the U.S. has difficulties understanding that concept. It does not know if this is a bilateral agreement or is this a multilateral agreement and we need to find the proper wording in the agreement which reflects what we understand as a mixed agreement but which also gives sufficient reassurance to the U.S. that it is an agreement where each of the parties involved on our side is committed and responsible for fulfilling the agreement.

So we hope that these questions will be resolved over the coming couple of weeks or so and if that is done then I think that we can paragraph it. It will then be presented for signature later on. Attached to the agreement are four documents, associated documents, which deal with the technical questions. One of these is already final, two I think, are completely finalized. Two others need some redrafting and consultation and that will be done over the coming three, four months. One is a secret document which demands quite a complicated procedure of transfer of classified information. So this may take a little while. But our objective is to have everything ready for the EU-U.S. summit in June. That is my overview, Ralph I pass the floor on to you.

(end Hilbrecht text)

(begin Braibanti text)

U.S. Mission to the European Union


Director of the Office of Space and Advanced Technology
U.S. Department of State
At a Joint Press Event

European Commission
Breydel Building
February 26, 2004

Thank you Heinz [Hilbrecht, European Commission Director for Inland Transports.] Good morning ladies and gentlemen. This is, from my perspective, a very positive day for the transatlantic partnership. For three years we have been negotiating an agreement on cooperation between these two satellite navigation systems: our GPS [Global Positioning System] and Europe's planned Galileo. And our objective has been to achieve a relationship in which GPS and Galileo are compatible and interoperable for civil users. If we can do this, it should have considerable benefits for users in Europe, in the United States and around the world. Because it will make possible the development of receivers that can easily integrate signals from both constellations of satellites. And this allows better, more reliable service for all users.

Mr. Hilbrecht has outlined the issues that we have been dealing with and that we have solved. I will not get into the details. But just as an overview from our perspective in the United States, one important feature of what we have achieved this week is that we now intend to transmit a common open signal from both constellations of satellites -- the Galileo satellites and the future generation of GPS satellites which are in the early design stage right now, which is known as GPS-3. So this will allow even greater interoperability, even more benefits to the civil users than we had envisioned when we started this process three years ago. So that is very good news.

Another important feature is that we have agreed after much discussion, often difficult, but we have now agreed on signal structures for Galileo services that will not degrade the navigation warfare capabilities of US and NATO military forces. Again, very good news.

A third element, we have reached a common understanding on the objective of non-discrimination in satellite navigation goods and services which should help our private sector both in the United States and in Europe, the ones who are interested in doing business in the field of satellite navigation.

So, all in all we have achieved what was always our objective: a win-win outcome. We still have some details to work out, which are, as Heinz said, of a legal and procedural nature, but all the major principles of cooperation are now in place. So in the end through a lot of hard work and good will on both sides, we have succeeded in converting issues that could have driven a wedge between the United States and Europe into a situation where satellite navigation now clearly appears to be an area that is going to add to the strength of the transatlantic partnership. And we are very pleased with this outcome. Thank you.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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