REPORT on transport applications of Global Navigation Satellite Systems – short- and medium-term EU policy

    24.3.2011 - (2010/2208(INI))

    Committee on Transport and Tourism
    Rapporteur: Silvia-Adriana Ţicău

    Procedure : 2010/2208(INI)
    Document stages in plenary
    Document selected :  
    Texts tabled :
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    on transport applications of Global Navigation Satellite Systems – short- and medium-term EU policy


    The European Parliament,

    –   having regard to the communication of 14 June 2010 from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on an Action Plan on Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Applications (COM(2010)0308),

    –   having regard to the Council conclusions of 1 October 2010 on that action plan (14146/10),

       having regard to the communication of 16 October 2010 from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative: Innovation Union’ (COM(2010)546),

       having regard to the Commission report of 18 January 2011 to the European Parliament and the Council, constituting the mid-term review of the European satellite radio navigation programmes (COM(2011)0005), which maintains that significant funding is needed in order to complete the satellite radio navigation infrastructure,

    –   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 683/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 July 2008 on the further implementation of the European satellite navigation programmes (EGNOS and Galileo)[1],

    –   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 1321/2004 of 12 July 2004 on the establishment of structures for the management of the European satellite radio-navigation programmes[2],

    –   having regard to the Commission’s Green Paper of 8 December 2006 on Satellite Navigation Applications (COM(2006)0769),

    –   having regard to Regulation (EU) No 912/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 September 2010 setting up the European GNSS Agency, repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1321/2004 on the establishment of structures for the management of the European satellite radio navigation programmes and amending Regulation (EC) No 683/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council[3],

    –   having regard to its resolution of 29 January 2004 on the communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the state of progress of the Galileo programme[4],

    –   having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

    –   having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the opinion of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (A7-0084/2011)

    A. whereas GNSS applications are now a central and indispensable feature of activity in every transport sector and whereas their efficient and effective operation makes transport safer, more environmentally friendly and economical,

    B.  whereas transport applications account for 20% of all GNSS applications by volume and 44% by value, and whereas safety operations – mostly related to transport – account for a further 5%,

    C. whereas the European Union cannot indefinitely remain dependent for the basic infrastructure required for the operation of GNSS on systems developed initially for other purposes by other countries,

    D. whereas EGNOS is a self-contained system to supplement GPS which is dependent on the availability of GPS signals in order to perform calculation and correction operations; whereas there will be no completely independent GNSS until Galileo has been deployed,

    E.  whereas Europe’s EGNOS system is designed to meet substantial and varied present and future demand from industry in Europe and worldwide, for instance as regards transport safety and traceability, in keeping with the aims of Europe’s new, more proactive industrial policy, and whereas it is also compatible with and supplements GPS and the significantly more accurate Galileo system,

    F. whereas the commercial transport applications of GNSS and Galileo represent a growing global market which should be secured as far as is possible for the economic benefit of European industry and for the creation of skilled jobs,

    G. whereas GNSS will play a vital role in supporting and promoting the use of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITSs),

    H. whereas the development of GNSS applications and services is essential in order to ensure that the infrastructure investment which Galileo represents is fully exploited and that the Galileo system is developed to its full capacity,

    I.   whereas investment in this sector has implications for all EU policies, and whereas its expansion and implementation will have a direct impact on the realisation of the EU 2020 Strategy and from the point of view of developing the potential of the European market in GNSS applications and services so as to create jobs and enhance Europe’s competitiveness,

    J.   whereas the GNSS and Galileo projects bring considerable added value to European industrial policy and whereas it is essential to ensure their success,

    1.  Welcomes the Commission communication on an Action Plan on Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Applications and the series of specific sectoral, regulatory and horizontal actions proposed therein;

    2.  Agrees with the Commission that a targeted action plan is, at this point, the best option for giving a further impetus to the development and application of EGNOS and Galileo, particularly in the transport field; stresses that satellite navigation systems should ensure interoperability between different systems (including conventional systems) and should also allow intermodal use in both passenger and freight transport services;

    3.  Notes that, of the 15 section-specific proposals in the action plan, nine relate directly to transport and most of the others are required in order to underpin the relevant transport applications;

    4.  Calls on the Commission to ensure swift certification of EGNOS for civil aviation through the competent authorities;

    5.  Agrees that actions to promote the use of EGNOS and Galileo in civil aviation are a strategic requirement for the implementation of SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research), especially as regards its use for landing procedures and at small airports;

    6.  Regrets that all of the European Union is not at this time covered by EGNOS and calls for EGNOS system coverage to be extended to southern, eastern and south-eastern Europe as a matter of priority, so as to enable the system to be used throughout Europe in every transport sector, and stresses the importance of ensuring that its coverage extends to both the MEDA countries and the Middle East and Africa;

    7.Underlines the importance of GNSS in developing ITSs; points out that ITSs can provide more efficient, cleaner and safer transport solutions, and that proper implementation of a number of ITS services requires fully operational GNSS systems;

    8.  Endorses the view that EGNOS and Galileo can make an important contribution to road traffic management and that an awareness campaign in that sector is required in order to increase the use made of the opportunities it provides in relation to fee collection, eCall, online booking of safe parking sites for trucks, and real-time tracking to contribute to safer and more environmentally friendly road transport;

    9.  Calls therefore on the Commission to bring forward the necessary regulatory proposals to deliver GNSS added value for safety in all forms of transport, particularly on the roads, and to help improve freight transport efficiency;

    10. Urges the Commission to intensify industrial cooperation with non-EU countries with a view to promoting the development and interoperability of EGNOS and Galileo applications and services;

    11. Agrees that the Commission should make a careful appraisal of the need to amend existing legislation on digital tachographs in order to ensure that the opportunities for positioning and speed information offered by GNSS are used appropriately;

    12. Agrees that GNSS can do much to enhance the safety and efficiency of shipping and that the Commission should take steps to increase awareness and improve knowledge of possible GNSS applications in the maritime and inland waterway sectors and to have EGNOS-based applications accepted at IMO and ICAO levels;

    13. Supports the Commission’s intention of launching campaigns to raise awareness among the various stakeholders so as to give European industry the confidence to invest in the commercial potential of the EU’s satellite navigation projects;

    14. Calls on the Commission to efficiently implement the strong awareness-raising measures set out in the Action Plan, in order to secure the extensive use of EGNOS in Europe, in all application areas, and thus ensure more complex approaches;

    15. Insists that the Commission should propose, in the context of the budgetary procedure and the future multiannual financial framework (MFF), steps to ensure adequate levels of funding for GNSS research and development, as well as for implementation; stresses that EU funding in the transport sector is already sparse and that additional funding for GNSS should therefore not result in less funding for other priorities in the Common Transport Policy area; renews its call, regarding both this specific project and similar projects, such as the TEN-Ts, for the Commission to submit a multiannual financing proposal going beyond the period of the MFF, in order to provide a stable and reliable financial framework for more ambitious European projects whose scope exceeds the present bounds;

    16. Calls on the Commission to consider whether revenue from commercial Galileo activities might be assigned to the EU budget;

    17. Calls on the Commission to inform Parliament how the annual maintenance cost, estimated at EUR 800 million, will be financed once Galileo has become operational;

    18. Calls on the Commission to come forward with a comprehensive funding strategy which in addition to adequate EU and Member State contributions, could include, inter alia, co-ordinated tax incentives, simplified grant application procedures, and arrangements that could channel venture capital to SMEs and facilitate the development and marketing of EGNOS and Galileo applications, in cooperation with the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund;

    19. Calls on the Commission to ensure that the EUR 100 m likely to be underspent in payment appropriations for research within the Seventh Framework Programme is made available for the development of GNSS applications;

    20. Urges the Commission to examine how simplified procedures might ensure more efficient and transparent disbursement of funding in support of research in the field of GNSS-enabled transport for all, paying special attention to the needs of disabled persons and focusing in particular on SMEs;

    21. Calls on the Commission to help SMEs gain access more easily to European funding aimed at encouraging innovation related to GNSS applications, especially under the seventh and eighth framework programmes;

    22. Urges the Commission to examine what data protection concerns might arise with the use of EGNOS applications and services and to do all it can to dispel these;

    23. Notes the need for investment in research into GNSS-specific applications and services, with particular regard to the special requirements of disabled people, since such investment is of decisive importance for the proper development and use of GNSS services;

    24. Calls on the Commission to encourage initiatives aimed at developing sector-specific service centres, in particular for the maritime sector;

    25. Regrets that the shortage of funds allocated to research and innovation for applications based on EGNOS or Galileo is considerably delaying technological progress and the growth of industrial capacity, as well as environmentally effective implementation, in the European Union and therefore urges the Commission to introduce arrangements enabling small and medium-sized enterprises to gain access to funding more readily;

    26. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

    • [1]  OJ L 196, 24.7.2008, p. 1.
    • [2]  OJ L 246, 20.7.2004, p. 1.
    • [3]  OJ L 276, 20.10.2010, p.11.
    • [4]  OJ C 96 E, 21.4.2004, p. 128.



    On the 14 June 2010 the Commission published its Action Plan on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) which included 24 specific recommendations for action. The general background to the Action Plan is the general deployment of global satellite navigation systems and specifically the development and deployment of EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service). EGNOS is the forerunner of the GALILEO system. The sector as a whole has experienced enormous expansion since the first provision of GPS services from American satellite facilities in 2000. The estimated global market value in 2008 was Euros 124 billion, projected to reach Euros 230 billion by 2025. Of this 20% is represented by Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) and 5% by safety applications, including transport safety applications.

    The EU has launched the EGNOS project (and Galileo) to provide signals guaranteed for civilian use and to ensure that European industry at all levels has an opportunity to compete in this growing strategic market. Europe’s current market share of 25% is below expectations. EGNOS is GPS compatible but will offer more possibilities when Galileo becomes operational in 2013. EGNOS is ten times more accurate than GPS.

    The EU-US agreement on GPS -Galileo cooperation ensures interoperability and as the number of satellites increases and advanced GPS systems are deployed the levels of speed and accuracy obtained are improved. Accuracy to 45 centimetres can be obtained in the near future by using the most advanced civilian systems.

    The Action Plan

    The Action Plan delineates the steps necessary in the Commission’s view get GNSS to a "critical mass" point beyond which its success is assured. Delivering a targeted action Plan is the Commission’s preferred option over a comprehensive action plan which risks being bogged down in a plethora of initiatives and mere consultation which risks failing to give impetus. The time scale of the Action Plan is 2010-2013.

    Transport in the Action Plan

    Of the 15 sectoral actions included in the Action Plan 9 have an immediate and important transport application. Those are:

    - the certification of the EGNOS system in civil aviation to facilitate the creation of a Single European Sky,

    - the creation of a certification body and procedures, in cooperation with manufacturers for Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) for road transport, including Advanced Driver Assistance Systems,

    - the adoption of EGNOS and GALILEO applications for maritime transport, in consultation with the International Maritime Organisation, to improve maritime transport navigation especially in ports, coastal areas and busy shipping lanes. Another application would be on inland waterways,

    - an awareness campaign to demonstrate the benefits of EGNOS for the road transport community specially in areas already covered by EU legislation such as the interoperability of electronic fee collection systems or animal transport or in other areas such as eCall and real time tracking of containers,

    - in conjunction with Eurocontrol, the European Commission will engage in

    an awareness and market development campaign focusing on aircraft manufacturers,

    general aviation and small airports once EGNOS is certified for aviation use,

    - likewise the European Commission will engage in an awareness campaign

    targeting equipment manufacturers and shipbuilders, port authorities and ship

    owners in respect of EGNOS’s availability for the maritime sector,

    -as some regulatory measures may be necessary to ensure GNSS added value for road safety (e.g. monitoring the transport of dangerous goods, or for long-range public transport) and freight transport efficiency, or for improved traffic management, as a complement the Commission will examine the expediency of proposing Directives on GNSS-based monitoring of long-range coaches, and on GNSS-based multimodal logistics,

    - the Commission will investigate the expediency of amending the Regulation on digital tachographs to take advantage of the availability of authenticated GNSS-based positioning, timing and speed information,

    - the Commission will investigate the expediency of a Directive on equipping vehicles with a GNSS and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) enabled on-board functional unit to provide both the exact authenticated position and the electronic identification of the vehicle, taking duly into account privacy and data protection rules.

    The 9 horizontal actions included in the Action Plan such as the promotion of EGNOS in third countries or increasing awareness in third countries will also have major implications for the transport sector. It is clear that when all of these actions are considered together their potential impact on all transport modes in the medium and longer term is significant.

    What is needed now?

    The Commission is best placed to coordinate the implementation of the Action Plan to avoid duplication and member state level and to ensure overall progress in the multiplicity of EU policy fields covered by GNSS applications.

    In view of this and of the major beneficial economic impact which EGNOS, if developed and deployed to its maximum extent will have on the broader European economy, two further steps are required. Firstly the Commission must prioritise the measures it proposes in the Action Plan.

    EGNOS must cover the whole of the European Union and as a matter of priority it should be extended to Northern, Eastern and South Eastern Europe. For EGNOS to be fully effective from a transport perspective its range has to be the whole of the Union and indeed beyond to our near neighbours.

    In the area of civil aviation member states must promote the development and use of EGNOS based landing procedures and EGNOS based procedures and services must be certified as a matter of priority for civil aviation. This is a strategic requirement for a real Single European Sky.

    It is also clear the EGNOS and GNSS generally can make an important contribution to safety and environmental objectives, and freer traffic flow, in road transport through its availability for road tolling.

    In addition awareness raising of EGNOS and Galileo in the maritime and civil aviation areas should pave the way for the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) accepting safety-critical applications based on those systems.

    However clearly none of this can be achieved without adequate investment in the related research and development. Here there is a worrying identified funding gap.

    In connection to this point and all of the foregoing to that the Transport and Tourism committee held a mini hearing on the transport applications of GNSS on 1 December 2010 and heard two experts form GNSS business practitioners, representing respectively a relatively young technology company and a specialist in start up finance in this field. They identified a funding gap in EU risk capital small and medium sized enterprises, the need for simplified procedures FP 7/FP 8 to make it more attractive to commercial players. In addition industry needed certainty about continued research and development funding which should be restored to its initial levels in FP 7.The EU is the only trading block which does not provide direct funding to its GNSS programme.

    OPINION of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (28.1.2011)

    for the Committee on Transport and Tourism

    on transport applications of Global Navigation Satellite Systems - short and medium‑term EU policy

    Rapporteur: Norbert Glante


    The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy calls on the Committee on Transport and Tourism, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

    A. whereas Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) offer huge market potential for downstream applications, of which approximately 25 % are found in the transport sector,

    B.  whereas satellite navigation technology is revolutionising all modes of transport, especially sea, land and air transport, more effectively optimising traffic, reducing CO2 emissions and improving logistics and safety,

    C. whereas satellite navigation technology should be synchronised in all transport modes so as to maintain proper co-modality, for example in logistics centres to assure proper freight of goods,

    1.  Welcomes the Action Plan on Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Applications (COM(2010)308), which aims to promote the development of downstream applications through certification, standardisation and coordination with the industry and other countries as well as by disseminating information, raising awareness, implementing regulatory measures and increasing funding;

    2.  Calls for priority to be given to the development of GNSS applications that aim at improving sustainability, such as: efficient transport/logistics management, road charging, sustainable land use planning and resources management, and environmental enforcement and surveillance (forest and maritime protection);

    3.  Underlines that GNSS represents part of the core of the EU2020 strategy in terms of innovation, assisting in the delivery of a greener and more connected economy and growth, as well as in climate change and sustainable mobility;

    4.  Notes that GNSSs - like the internet - are more a service enabler than just a standalone service, since they, act as a catalyst for economic activities, leading to the creation of added value and jobs in a wide range of connected sectors (upstream and downstream markets) and at macroeconomic level through socio-economic benefits for society as a whole;

    5.  Underlines that an average of EUR 15 million per year for research and development of applications and GNSS services is insufficient, and calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure a significant increase in this amount in order to provide the necessary resources for GNSS development;

    6.  Believes that stability, predictability and transparency are of utmost importance for the development of applications when introducing the GNSS programme; believes that efficiency, compatibility and interoperability are essential features for a functioning system and applications;

    7.  Calls in this context for improved internal coordination in the development of the EGNOS and Galileo systems needed to secure the development of an efficient EU system; calls also for external coordination and cooperation with other systems (such as GPS and Glonass), both in terms of infrastructure use and development of applications, in order to identify win-win effects and ensure appropriate compatibility and interoperability;

    8.  Welcomes the Commission’s plans to introduce a GNSS voucher scheme to support developers of applications, providing them with technical expertise and financial advice as well as facilitating access to existing Galileo tests and simulations;

    9.  Calls on the Commission and the GSA to approach local and regional authorities and SMEs, both those dealing with space-related technology and those not dealing directly with space-related technology, as potential end‑users of GNSS applications, using appropriate calls for tenders, awareness campaigns and technology transfer mechanisms;

    10. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to facilitate exchanges between potential developers, investors and users of GNSS applications;

    11. Calls on the Commission to consider further EU R&D funding for GNSS applications to foster the development of applications based on EGNOS and Galileo, and to ensure Europe’s independence from foreign, military-controlled systems.


    Date adopted





    Result of final vote







    Members present for the final vote

    Jean-Pierre Audy, Ivo Belet, Jan Březina, Reinhard Bütikofer, Maria Da Graça Carvalho, Giles Chichester, Pilar del Castillo Vera, Christian Ehler, Ioan Enciu, Gaston Franco, Adam Gierek, Norbert Glante, Fiona Hall, Jacky Hénin, Romana Jordan Cizelj, Lena Kolarska-Bobińska, Béla Kovács, Marisa Matias, Judith A. Merkies, Jaroslav Paška, Miloslav Ransdorf, Herbert Reul, Amalia Sartori, Francisco Sosa Wagner, Konrad Szymański, Britta Thomsen, Evžen Tošenovský, Claude Turmes, Niki Tzavela, Marita Ulvskog, Vladimir Urutchev, Adina-Ioana Vălean, Kathleen Van Brempt, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, Henri Weber

    Substitute(s) present for the final vote

    Antonio Cancian, Françoise Grossetête, Andrzej Grzyb, Jolanta Emilia Hibner, Yannick Jadot, Oriol Junqueras Vies, Bernd Lange, Vladko Todorov Panayotov, Silvia-Adriana Ţicău, Catherine Trautmann

    Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

    Marit Paulsen


    Date adopted





    Result of final vote







    Members present for the final vote

    Georges Bach, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Antonio Cancian, Luis de Grandes Pascual, Saïd El Khadraoui, Ismail Ertug, Jacqueline Foster, Mathieu Grosch, Jim Higgins, Ville Itälä, Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, Georgios Koumoutsakos, Werner Kuhn, Jörg Leichtfried, Bogusław Liberadzki, Eva Lichtenberger, Gesine Meissner, Hella Ranner, Vilja Savisaar-Toomast, Olga Sehnalová, Debora Serracchiani, Brian Simpson, Dirk Sterckx, Keith Taylor, Silvia-Adriana Ţicău, Giommaria Uggias, Thomas Ulmer, Peter van Dalen, Artur Zasada, Roberts Zīle

    Substitute(s) present for the final vote

    Philip Bradbourn, Spyros Danellis, Isabelle Durant, Tanja Fajon, Bogdan Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, Ioan Mircea Paşcu, Dominique Riquet, Alfreds Rubiks, Sabine Wils