Parliamentary questions
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26 May 2016
Question for oral answer O-000084/2016
to the Commission
Rule 128
Antonio Tajani, Monika Hohlmeier, Franck Proust, Marian-Jean Marinescu, Françoise Grossetête, Salvatore Domenico Pogliese, Massimiliano Salini, Herbert Reul, Claude Rolin, Alain Cadec, Maurice Ponga, Tokia Saïfi, Anne Sander, Axel Voss, Bogdan Andrzej Zdrojewski, on behalf of the PPE Group
Flavio Zanonato, José Blanco López, Inés Ayala Sender, on behalf of the S&D Group
Evžen Tošenovský, on behalf of the ECR Group
Dominique Riquet, on behalf of the ALDE Group

 Subject: The EU Space Industrial Policy

The space sector is highly strategic and contributes to the competitiveness and innovation potential of the European economy via growth and jobs. It will also be crucial to reaching the target of 20% of GDP coming from industry before 2020 and, ultimately, to the overall objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy.

The two EU flagship programmes, Galileo and Copernicus, as well as EGNOS, are central in this respect: They should become operational as soon as possible, by deploying the full constellation of satellites and providing services for the benefit of EU citizens. It is also important to stress the use of satellite data and applications in a wide variety of domains, such as transport, agriculture, humanitarian aid, climate and energy.

But on their own these are not enough: For Europe to continue its leadership in this sector, investment in research programmes is also fundamental, as this will drive innovation, not forgetting the importance of non-dependence and security of supply in critical technologies. The European Union has to improve its incentivising role in developing space research and market opportunities. The 1.4 billion euros put aside within Horizon 2020 should be fully used to protect infrastructure, develop our access to space, and improve cooperation between Member States, the European Space Agency (ESA) and new constellation programmes.

In order to maintain an independent, reliable, cost-effective and affordable space programme, the European Commission should also consider as a high priority the development, deployment and market opportunities for launchers.

Finally, SMEs are very valuable contributors to the supply chain in the space environment, yet their participation in very large European projects remains far from reaching its full potential owing to a number of entry barriers. There is therefore a need to allow for and optimise the participation and access to financing of SMEs through the EU space financial instruments.

In view of the above:

1. How does the Commission intend to continue the thorough implementation of the Space Industrial Policy and in particular the deployment of Galileo and Copernicus satellites in order to provide services as soon as possible?

2. Does the Commission intend to allow for more resources for space research programmes or at least allow for the money not spent to be reused the following year, and how does it intend to allow for SMEs to access the EU space financial instruments?

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