Monday, June 23, 2003
A Common Policy on Space - 23rd June 2003, 22.49

Here's an interesting article answering questions on the aims of European policy in space. Their major programmes are GALILEO, a satellite navigation system, and GMES, the Global Monitoring of Environment and Security Initiative. Both have a security dimension, detailed here:

What role does Space play in security and defence?

Space-based systems can respond to many emerging security needs, with both civilian and defence aspects encompassed under the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). The current action being undertaken by the EU's new Rapid Reaction Force in the Democratic Republic of Congo is a good example of a ground-based security operation being aided by strategic space technologies.

The EU/ESA Joint Task Force will look, inter alia, in the 'dual use' of space systems. GALILEO and GMES, for example, as civilian projects under civilian control, are seen as key to developing transport and environment policies. But they are also highly relevant to the CFSP, especially in reference to the Petersberg tasks, which include military missions involving humanitarian aid, evacuation, peacekeeping and crisis resolution. Space is dual by nature. We will pay an increasingly high price if we keep civil and military applications artificially separated.

Key space-based capabilities include monitoring and intelligence gathering, highly relevant when reacting to natural disasters, or in times of crisis. Space systems can also provide a robust communications infrastructure, capable of operating even when conventional means are disrupted.

The EU's CFSP will only be really credible if it is supported by an autonomous intelligence capability, which includes space assets. The European Advisory Group on Aerospace, made up of high-level personalities from the political and industrial world, has presented a document on the current situation in the aerospace field. This 'STAR 21' report, recommends that the Union develop a satellite-based defence and security capacity on a European scale.

Note that the Union wishes to develop a "satellite based defence and security capacity on a European scale". They wouldn't need to do that if they were just a common market.


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