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Thursday, 17 January 2002 - Strasbourg Final edition
Europe and Space

European Parliament resolution on the Commission communication to the Council and the European Parliament on Europe and Space: Turning to a new chapter (COM(2000) 597 – C5-0146/2001 – 2001/2072(COS))

The European Parliament ,

–  having regard to the Communication of the Commission (COM(2000) 597 – C5-0146/2001- 2001/2072(COS)),

–  having regard to the Commission communication - EU Action Plan: satellite communications in the Information Society (COM(1997) 91),

–  having regard to the Council resolution of 22 June 1998(1) , on the synergy between the European Space Agency and the European Community,

–  having regard to the Council resolution of 2 December 1999(2) on developing a coherent European space strategy,

–  having regard to the Council resolution of 16 November 2000(3) on European Space Strategy,

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 April 1979 on Community participation in space research(4) ,

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 September 1981 on European space policy(5) ,

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 June 1987 on European space policy(6) ,

–  having regard to its resolution of 22 October 1991 on European space policy(7) ,

–  having regard to its resolution of 6 May 1994 on the Community and space(8) ,

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 January 1998 on the European Union and space(9) ,

–  having regard to its resolution of 18 May 2000 on the communication of the Commission on the Commission working document 'Towards a coherent European approach for space (SEC(1999) 789 - C5-0336/1999 - 1999/2213(COS))(10) ,

–  having regard to the report by Carl Bildt, Jean Peyrelevade and Lothar Späth to the Director-General of the European Space Agency of 20 November 2000 entitled 'Towards a space agency for the European Union'(11) ,

–  having regard to article 47(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, External Trade, Research and Eenergy and the opinions of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence Policy and the Committee on Regional Policy, Transport and Tourism (A5-0451/2001),

A.  whereas space research and applications have not only provided new knowledge, but have also had tremendous benefits in our daily lives,

B.  whereas space provides a unique platform for scientific research, communications, global navigation and positioning, and earth monitoring,

C.  whereas satellite communications are the main source of revenue in the commercial spatial sector,

D.  whereas satellite applications in the field of electronic communications are both pan-European and broadband,

E.  whereas it is vital to develop further the use of space for purposes of general interest and public service,

F.  whereas international cooperation is essential for space research and the development of applications,

G.  whereas the Member States have made outstanding contributions in space research and applications, as well as in the development of spacecraft and launchers,

H.  whereas the European Space Agency (ESA) has functioned efficiently as a body for intergovernmental coordination and has played a leading role in space research and applications both in Europe and worldwide,

1.  Emphasises that space activities should be intended only for peaceful purposes, which may include military applications for peacekeeping operations;

2.  Stresses that the EU needs to state clearly that the exploitation and use of outer space should be carried out for peaceful purposes only and in the interests of mankind;

3.  Emphasises that the activities of states in gaining access to, exploiting and using outer space should be carried out in accordance with international law;

4.  Strongly believes that the non-proliferation of arms and avoiding an arms race in outer space should form the guiding principle of the EU's space policy;

5.  Welcomes the drafting of a coherent European strategy for space and emphasises the importance of close and effective cooperation between the Commission and the European Space Agency on this initiative;

6.  Expresses its support for the three lines of action proposed in the Commission document - 'Strengthening the foundation for space activities', 'Enhancing scientific knowledge' and 'Reaping the benefits for markets and society' - on the basis of benefits for research, industry and society as a whole;

7.  Hopes that the current recasting of European space policy will result in a White Paper setting out the main objectives of the policy to be implemented in the medium and long term;

8.  Emphasises the need to develop further the technological basis of space activities, in particular launchers and vehicles, on the basis of an openly declared ambition for European independence and the will to retain a high level of technological capabilities which will require substantial and sustained public support for space development in the various forms we see in our competitors: dual programmes, massive research aid, completion of the internal market, public funding of infrastructure, with the objective of reaping the benefits for markets and societies through a demand-driven exploitation of the technical capabilities of the space community;

9.  Calls for the application of the single market principles of non-discrimination and proportionality for the use of radio spectrum which has been harmonised at ITU (International Union Telecom) and/or CEPT) (European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations) levels as regulatory constraints are still imposed on systems providing satellite communications in Europe;

10.  Calls for a detailed study of Europe's competitive situation in respect of space, in particular clarifying the direct or indirect contribution of states to the funding and development of space programmes throughout the world;

11.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to do all in their power in their respective spheres of competence to impose strict reciprocity on the United States in respect of non-tariff protection and indirect aid to the space industry, in particular in respect of launchers; is concerned in particular about the prior government authorisation procedures required in the United States for launching satellites;

12.  Expresses its strong support for pursuing cutting-edge themes of space science, as outlined in the Commission document, as well as for the exploitation of the International Space Station and other space-based scientific activities;

13.  Supports the development of a satellite system for global environment monitoring;

14.  Calls on the industry to develop further services to make possible the commercial as well as the traditional uses of space;

15.  Identifies protection and management of the space and terrestrial environment as a major policy goal for the future;

16.  Notes that the Galileo project will form part of the European strategy put forward by the Commission, reiterates Galileo's importance for transport, and emphasises the importance of Galileo's compatibility with GPS and Glonass;

17.  Emphasises the importance for global security in general, and European security in particular, of the GPMS project, and considers that its development should go hand in hand with that of Galileo;

18.  Supports the ever-closer cooperation between the ESA and the EU, but believes that the ESA with its basis of intergovernmental cooperation should in the longer term be brought within the EU, while retaining its autonomy; welcomes the creation of a joint task-force by the Commission and the ESA, which will draft proposals for framework agreements for the management of joint projects;

19.  Urges the further development of international collaboration in space activities, in particular with the Russian Federation, the USA, China and Japan, but also with less developed countries for which the European Union could provide affordable access to space, and asks the Commission to arrange a conference to explore the possibilities of such co-operative ventures with representatives of the above four space powers, covering scientific, technological, industrial or economic aspects, such as the new international orbiting space station;

20.  Welcomes the fact that space research forms a major part of one of the priority thematic domains in the Commission's proposal for the 6th Framework Programme for research and technological development;

21.  Calls for new initiatives in the field of the training of space scientists and engineers;

22.  Draws attention to the special problems for space researchers arising from professional mobility because of the geographical location of certain types of major installation necessary for space research, including those in third countries;

23.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States and the European Space Agency.

(1) OJ C 224, 17.7.1998, p. 1.
(2) OJ C 375, 24.12.1999, p. 1.
(3) OJ C 371, 23.12.2000, p. 2.
(4) OJ C 127, 21.5.1979, p. 32.
(5) OJ C 260, 12.10.1981, p. 102.
(6) OJ C 190, 20.7.1987, p. 78.
(7) OJ C 305, 25.11.1991, p. 26.
(8) OJ C 205, 25.7.1994, p. 467.
(9) OJ C 34, 2.2.1998, p. 27.
(10) OJ C 59, 23.2.2001, p. 248.

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