Militarisation of space and race for resources: What can EU do about it?
Subcommittee on Security and Defence held a public hearing on Tuesday on EU´s possibilities to protect its space infrastructure and ensure EU-s common security.
Space technologies, data and services have become indispensable in the daily lives of European citizens. Today, satellite navigation systems or earth observing programmes provide useful information in the full range of areas such as supporting communications, saving lives at sea, monitoring natural disasters or border control. Useful for civil and military purposes, space is becoming increasingly contested and disputed environment with new competitors, both public and private, emerging around the world.
"The space sector is undergoing a spectacular evolution in terms of its scale and speed. The dependence of our economies, societies, public services, but also our political systems and military activities on satellite transmissions makes space a strategic issue of the utmost importance. Taking full account of our security and defence concerns space has become a necessity. SEDE undertakes to regularly review the international space context and the European Union's positioning", sad SEDE Chair Nathalie Loiseau (RE, FR).
At the meeting, Subcommittee on Security and Defence MEPs looked at the geopolitical challenges the Union is faced with, especially the “weaponisation” of space as well as the investments and practices of the Union´s partner countries. It also examined the EU´s space capabilities in security and defence as well as the means that the Union has at its disposal to protect its space infrastructure.
In June, the UN adopted the guidelines on the long-term sustainability of space activities, as the existing UN conventions appear to be limited, particularly with regard to space traffic management or resource exploitation. The guidelines cover a range of recommended behaviours and best practices in space, including safety of space operations and international cooperation.
Guest speakers at the hearing were Olivier Zajec from the Faculté de Droit, Université Jean Moulin Lyon III, Pascal Claudel from the European GNSS Agency, Carine Clayes, EU Special Envoy for Space, EEAS and Simonetta di Pippo, Director of UN Office for Outer Space Affairs.
The European Union proposes investing €16 billion in the period 2021-2027 to further Europe's activities in outer space. The proposed budget covers programmes such as Galileo, Copernicus and Space Situational Awareness.
The next SEDE meeting will take place on 2 and 3 December in Brussels.