Copernicus, the EU’s new Earth Observation System, was approved by the Industry Committee on Thursday. Replacing the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme, it will have a €3.79 billion budget for 2014-2020. Its data will serve many purposes, including monitoring climate change and protecting public security.
Vittorio Prodi (S&D, IT), who drafted the approved text, said the primary objective of Copernicus is to "benefit European citizens in a variety of fields, specifically for environment and climate change purposes". "The environmental monitoring of air, water and soil will help improve health, for instance. Other applications can aid significantly agriculture activities, through a more effective control of our agricultural and fish resources", he added.
Mr Prodi added that: "Copernicus will generate a financial benefit of some €30 billion and a minimum of around 50,000 new jobs over the period 2015-2030. Studies show that these benefits could multiply by a factor between 5 and 10 if adequate downstream enabling factors are in place".
Providing free of charge information in vital areas
Copernicus must ensure access to full, open and free-of-charge information in the areas of land, marine, atmosphere, climate change, emergency management and security, said the Committee. This data would be gathered from several Earth observation satellites and a multitude of sensors on the ground, at sea or in the air.
For instance, Copernicus data on water quality will help public authorities to enhance protection of bathing waters, detect jelly fish populations and predict algal blooms.
MEPs sought to ensure a clear breakdown of the programme's €3.79 billion budget for 2014-2020(at 2011 prices) and to encourage a longer-term approach to providing services (beyond the EU’s 7-year long-run budget).
MEPs will start negotiations with EU member states next week for an informal deal on the new rules governing Copernicus.