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Procedure : 2008/2664(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B6-0582/2008

Texts tabled :

B6-0582/2008

Debates :

PV 19/11/2008 - 12
CRE 19/11/2008 - 12

Votes :

PV 20/11/2008 - 6.12
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2008)0564

Texts adopted
DOC 47k
Thursday, 20 November 2008 - Strasbourg Final edition
European Space Policy
P6_TA(2008)0564B6-0582/2008

European Parliament resolution of 20 November 2008 on the European space policy: how to bring space down to earth

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Council resolution of 26 September 2008 on taking forward the European Space Policy(1) ,

–   having regard to the UN Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (Resolution 2222 (XXI) – Outer Space Treaty),

–   having regard to its resolutions of 10 July 2008 on space and security(2) , and of 29 January 2004 on the action plan for implementing the European space policy(3) , and to the deliberations of the public hearing organised by its Committee on Industry, Research and Energy on 16 July 2007,

–   having regard to Council resolution of 21 May 2007 on the European space policy(4) ,

–   having regard to the Commission working document of 11 September 2008 entitled European Space Policy Progress Report (COM(2008)0561),

–   having regard to the Council Decision of 7 October 2003 on the signing of the Framework Agreement between the EC and the European Space Agency,

–   having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and the Treaty on European Union (TEU), as amended by the Treaty of Lisbon, and the relevant provisions on the European space policy (Article 189 of the TFEU),

–   having regard to Rule 108(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas space is a strategic asset of fundamental importance for Europe's independence, security and prosperity and whereas political developments in this area must be spearheaded by the Council together with Parliament,

B.   whereas the EU and a number of its Member States have been involved in financing and developing space technology and science for over 30 years, resulting in the establishment of a vision for a European space policy (ESP), and recognising the fruitful cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA),

C.   whereas there is a growing interest in a strong and leading role for the EU in an ESP in order to foster solutions in the field of the environment, transport, research, defence and security,

D.   whereas a strong ESP, in particular, in terms of applications, services and related infrastructures, will contribute to the EU's societal, cultural, economic and scientific influence, help develop its industrial and scientific base, contribute to its growth and employment and will ensure its political and technological autonomy in a coherent and realistic manner,

E.   whereas all Europe's space activities fully respect the principle that the exploration and use of outer space are for the benefit and in the interests of all countries and recognise outer space as a province of all mankind to be used for exclusively peaceful purposes,

F.   whereas the EU is committed to promoting international cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space; sharing the Council's view that Europe should undertake its actions regarding space exploration within a worldwide programme,

G.   whereas it is important to the development of the ESP to reinforce public understanding and support for the development of space technologies, ensuring the complementarity of actions and maximising synergies with non-space developments,

H.   whereas there is a strategic need for Europe to guarantee the continuity of autonomous, reliable, sustainable and cost-efficient access to space, based on both the availability of a set of adequate and competitive world-class launchers and an operational European space port,

I.   whereas it is necessary to find adequate EU instruments and funding schemes for the ESP to supplement the allocations from the Seventh Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration Activities (2007-2013), so as to allow the different economic actors to plan their actions in the medium and long term,

J.   whereas an adequate structure of governance in the field of space policy and activities and an appropriate regulatory framework to ease the swift emergence of innovative and competitive downstream services, in particular with the objective of guaranteeing sustained access to spectrum for all space-based applications, are fundamental to ensure that the ESP delivers the expected results and matches the ambitions of the EU, the ESA and their respective Member States,

K.   whereas a precise calendar needs to be defined to fulfil the goals of Galileo, EGNOS and the programme for Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES - renamed Copernicus) and a roadmap should be established for the various bodies playing a role in the implementation of these programmes,

L.   whereas space now represents a unique tool for instantaneous collection and worldwide broadcasting of large quantities of data in today's society, as well as a crucial tool for the understanding and monitoring of global climate change, a field in which Europe is at the forefront; calling on the other international actors to a more responsible attitude towards future generations,

M.   whereas important breakthroughs can be achieved regarding security aspects in space, mainly in the field of telecommunications, surveillance and Earth observation,

N.   whereas the resolution of the fourth Space Council of 22 May 2007 (joint meeting between the Council of the European Union and the ESA Council) calls for the optimisation of the decision-making process on space-related issues in the Council of the European Union as well as in other EU institutions,

O.   whereas the next financial framework should take into account adequate EU instruments and funding schemes to allow long-term Community investment for space-related research and for the operation of sustainable space-based applications for the benefit of Europe and its citizens,

P.   whereas the EU should strengthen its cooperation with developing countries,

1.  Welcomes the Council conclusions of 26 September 2008 as a useful political commitment towards the development of anESP which contributes strongly to a European identity and reiterates its intention of being constructive and participating fully in its implementation, as if the Treaty of Lisbon were in force;

2.  Agrees with the Council that the current priorities are the timely implementation of the Galileo and EGNOS and GMES/Copernicus programmes;

3.  Welcomes in particular the creation of the Galileo Inter-institutional Panel which may serve as a model in the development of the ESP;

4.  Calls on the Commission and the Council to set a precise calendar for the creation of an efficient governance structure regarding the GMES/Copernicus programme and to clearly establish a roadmap for this programme with the aim of improving its efficiency and specifying its budget allocation;

5.  Insists on the decisive role of the GMES/Copernicus programme as a user-driven initiative implemented thanks to the essential contribution of the in-situ Earth- and space-based observation infrastructures; stresses that data and service continuity is indispensable; takes the view, more particularly, that the Commission should first undertake to commission an impact assessment of the potential benefits, the costs to be incurred and the long-term evolution of the GMES/Copernicus programme, and then submit to Parliament and the Council an action plan covering, inter alia, the following aspects:

   the legal framework of the GMES/ Copernicus programme,
   GMES/Copernicus governance, including the role of EU and non-EU bodies,
   funding of the GMES/ Copernicus programme,
   an implementation plan,
   the role of similar but complementary initiatives, both intergovernmental and multilateral,
   the international aspects of the GMES/ Copernicus programme, and hence the necessary cooperation;

6.  Regrets that, despite the clear recommendations of the user community, the continuity of the low inclination altimetry data is not ensured after the end of life of the Jason 2 satellite already in orbit, and asks the Commission to tackle the problems relating to the financing of Jason 3, which risk endangering the short-term sustainability of Copernicus services, and to report to Parliament on the decisions taken in this respect;

7.  Encourages the establishment of a structured dialogue between European institutional actors and intergovernmental actors, ensuring for all Member States an open and equitable access to the benefits of the ESP;

8.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to encourage synergies between civilian and security developments in the field of space; points out that the European security and defence capabilities depend among other things on the availability of satellite-based systems and that access to these is crucial for the European Union;

9.  Asks the Council and the Commission to make progress on the subject of international relations, namely on competition in international commercial and government markets, with the goal of ensuring that Europe speaks with one voice and follows an agreed strategy;

10.  Agrees with the Council that international cooperation on space must serve the interests of Europe and that, with this purpose, should contribute to global initiatives; stresses the importance of ensuring Europe's political, technological and operational autonomy;

11.  Reminds the Council and the Commission of their stated intention of submitting to Parliament, in the context of the ESP implementation plan, specific recommendations or proposals, given the nature of the four priority areas, on:

   space and climate change,
   the ESP's contribution to the Lisbon Strategy,
   space and security, based on its resolution of 10 July 2008,
   space exploration, including human presence and manned space flight;

12.  Stresses the importance of developing a space-related industrial policy, a crucial element in this policy being the regulatory framework and the standardisation programme which contributes to the emergence of new European downstream markets, and recalls that the Galileo Regulation sets a benchmark for the involvement of small and medium-sized enterprises in European space-related industrial policy;

13.  Recognises the unique contribution of space programmes which, allowing global and long-term coverage, make available important data for research into climate change, and provide the evidence base for key decisions to be taken in environment policy;

14.  Recognises that space can contribute to reaching the Lisbon goals so as to fulfil the economic, educational, social and environmental ambitions of the EU and the expectations of its citizens;

15.  Recognises the need for the EU to take practical steps to pursue the reduction of Europe's dependence concerning selected critical space technologies, components and operations;

16.  Considers that Europe should develop a common vision and long-term strategic planning for space exploration to play a role in international programmes (such as the Global Exploration Strategy) for human and robotic space exploration, including the possibility of a human expedition to Mars;

17.  Urges that consideration be given to a possible new specific budget line for the ESP in the EU budget in order to reflect the strong commitment of the EU towards the ESP and to increase the clarity and transparency of this policy, should the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty relating to space policy enter into force;

18.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote investments in space-related science and technology;

19.  Calls on the Commission to take the appropriate initiatives for developing the use of space for the collection and distribution of information and insists on the need to encourage technological developments in the field of surveillance and observation of space;

20.  Calls on the Commission to take the necessary measures to avoid pollution of outer space;

21.  Calls on the Commission to produce a study on the impact of space tourism and its necessary relevant safety, security and regulatory framework;

22.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to initiate a large-scale effort of reflection on space exploration, defining a vision of what should be Europe's position in, and resources for, future worldwide exploration endeavours; in this respect, wishes to be closely associated with the forthcoming high-level conference on exploration proposed by the Commission;

23.  Stresses the value of space exploration for inspiring young Europeans to choose a career in science and technology and to strengthen research capabilities in Europe;

24.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European Space Agency, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

(1) OJ C 268, 23.10.2008, p. 1.
(2) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0365.
(3) OJ C 96 E, 21.4.2004, p. 136.
(4) OJ C 136, 20.6.2007, p. 1.

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