New initiatives in space sector of
ESA and Space and Security Panel
In the wake of last year's wide-ranging Green Paper consultation
and the subsequent White Paper on European Space Policy, the
European Union and its partners are moving forward with important
new space initiatives. Upcoming events include the entry into force
of the European Community and European Space Agency (ESA) Framework
Agreement and the launching of a new 'Panel of Experts on Space and
As the citizens of a newly enlarged Europe look to the future,
fresh initiatives in the space sector are broadening the role of
co-operation and tackling new and important challenges.
EC/ESA Framework Agreement
ESA is a European agency that does not form part of the European
Union. While the two organisations have long maintained close ties,
they have grown even closer in recent years, due to the
increasingly important role of space in maintaining Europe's
political and economic strength.
In November 2003, the European Community and ESA signed a
Framework Agreement on future co-operation between the two
organisations and the joint development of a comprehensive European
Space Policy. This agreement officially entered into force on 28
An important element of the Agreement entails the convening of
an EC/ESA 'High-Level Space Policy Group', gathering
representatives from EU and ESA Member States with the goal of
reaching a common understanding on the implementation of European
Space Policy, in particular the preparation of the future European
That Group is scheduled to hold its first meeting in Brussels on
4 June 2004.
The EC/ESA High-level Space Policy Group
The launch represents the practical entry into force of the
EC/ESA Framework Agreement. The Group will be closely associated
with the implementation of said Agreement and with the preparation
of joint and concomitant meetings of ministerial-level EU and ESA
Councils, the first of which is proposed for 26 November 2004.
The group will also be available to advise on joint proposals
from the EC/ESA Secretariat, notably related to the development and
implementation of the European Strategy for Space, the European
Commission White Paper on European Space Policy and relevant
aspects of the ESA's Agenda 2007. It will be convened and
co-chaired by the European Commission and the ESA Executive at
Director General level, and will meet in Brussels and Paris.
Panel of Experts on Space and Security
The White Paper on European Space Policy highlights the
strategic importance of space in implementing the Common Foreign
and Security Policy (CFSP) and the European Security and Defence
It is now widely agreed that space-based technologies have a
major part to play in ensuring the security of European citizens.
This includes better enforcement of border control, conflict
prevention, the carrying out of humanitarian missions, and fighting
crime and terrorism.
With Europe now moving towards a comprehensive Security Research
programme, the groundwork for which is being laid by the
Preparatory Action on Security Research (PASR2004), the EU and ESA
have attached a great deal of importance to security-related space
Following the Report on 'Research for a Secure Europe', prepared
by the Security 'Group of Personalities', the EC has now agreed to
establish a 'Panel of Experts on Space and Security'.
The first meeting of the Panel will take place in Brussels on 7
June 2004. In attendance will be European Research Commissioner
Philippe Busquin, along with representatives of the European
Commission, the Council, ESA, the European Satellite Centre at
Torrejon, relevant working groups, the space industry and users'
organisations. A total of four meetings will be held this year.
The primary mission of the Panel of Experts is to provide the
Commission with a Report by end of 2004 on the security and defence
issues raised in the Space White Paper. This will include an
assessment of needed capabilities, as identified by users, in view
of developing a future European Space Programme in 2005.