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Space: a new frontier for an expanding Union

Building on the successful Green Paperconsultation on options for European activities in space, the Commission proposes in this White Paper the implementation of an extended European Space Policy to support the achievement of the European Unions policy goals. The following aspects are developed:

Europe needs an extended space policy, driven by demand, able to exploit the special benefits space technologies can deliver in support of the Unions policies and objectives: faster economic growth, job creation and industrial competitiveness, enlargement and cohesion, sustainable development and security and defence.

The European Space Agency (ESA), EU and ESA Member States with their national space agencies, research centres, and industry all deserve credit for having established Europe as a key player in space. This White Paper is a call to action to these partners, including the space industry, to mobilise behind new goals and to rise to new challenges.

European Space Policy will be implemented within a multi-annual European Space Programme which will be the mechanism for determining priorities, setting objectives, allocating roles and responsibilities and framing annual budgets. Its scope must embrace R&D, infrastructure development, services and technology and it should be reviewed and updated regularly.

The policy will require an increase in overall expenditure to develop and deploy applications and to support the research and development, technology and infrastructures. In the context of its future Financial Perspectives, the Union should consider adding resources to be allocated in response to the needs of EU policies.

If Europe does not adopt the proposed approach to space policy, it will decline as a space power because of an inability to develop new technologies and sustain applications with serious consequent damage to its overall competitiveness.

Europe already possesses many of the capabilities needed to develop the services and applications that will support EU policies. It has deployed operational communication and meteorological systems and has adopted an ambitious programme for satellite navigation, timing and positioning (GALILEO) and will present in January 2004 its plan for implementing global monitoring and earth observation system (Global Monitoring for the Environment and Security: GMES). In addition to supporting a wide range of civil policies, space systems can also provide direct contributions to the Unions Common Foreign and Security Policy and its European Security and Defence Policy.

International co-operation offers good opportunities for building Europes strength in space technologies and applications through partnerships with the US, Russia and emerging space nations.

Implementation of a European Space Policy would come in two phases: the first (2004-2007) will consist of implementing the activities covered by the recently agreed Framework Agreement between the European Community and ESA; and the second (2007 onwards) will start after the coming into force of the European Constitutional Treaty which is expected to establish space as a shared competence between the Union and its Member States.

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