Monitoring the European Space Policy
France is a long-standing space power playing a key role both in Europe and through its bilateral relations. The Foreign and European Affairs Ministry participates in the work of ministerial bodies responsible for developing France’s position in European space policy and sits in the French delegations on various fora dealing with these issues, particularly in the context of the European Union, the European Space Agency (ESA), the High Level EU-ESA Group for space issues.
In space, the European level is most relevant to achieving our goals in many major programs. France takes an active part in implementing the European Space Policy (ESP) and major flagship programs of the European Union (Galileo and GMES).
The European FrameworkDuring the 5th Space Council (September 26th, 2008), held under the French Presidency of the European Union, the “Making Progress in the European Space Policy” resolution was adopted. It reminds us that the European space policy rests on three pillars: The European Union, the European Space Agency, and their Member States. It proposed new initiatives, particularly in terms of space technologies’ contribution to the fight against climate change, competitiveness, and employment and security in Europe.
The conclusions of the European Council’s Presidency on December 11th-12th, 2008 identified “space technologies and services derived from it” among the technologies of the future within the framework of the Lisbon strategy beyond 2010 and eligible for inclusion in the “European Plan for Innovation.”
The French Presidency of the European Union has achieved a significant advance in terms of space technology’s contribution to Europe’s defense and security. The Council Declaration dated December 8th, 2008 on increasing the European security and defense policy’s capacity decided to strengthen space information and intelligence, by making Cosmo-SkyMed and Helios 2 satellite imagery available to the European Union’s Satellite Centre (EUSC), and signing a letter of intent to this effect for SAR-Luppe, preparing a new generation of observation satellites (MUSIS program), and factoring in military needs in space monitoring.
Online publication: December 7, 2010
Moreover, on the political level, the draft Code of Conduct of the European Union on Space Operations was officially released at the General Affairs / External Relations Council on December 8th, 2008.
The ESA Ministerial Level Council adopts decisions regarding Agency programs. The Ministerial Council in Berlin (December 5th-6th, 2005) adopted a resolution on the European preference regarding launchers for ESA missions. In March 2006, France decided, at the national level, to apply this principle to French institutional missions. The Franco-Italian summit on November 30th, 2007 adopted a Franco-Italian Declaration on European preference regarding space access.
During the Hague Ministerial Council (November 25th-26th, 2008) Member State contributions to Agency programs stood at more than €10 billion, an increase of almost 20% over the previous year. These contributions are earmarked for specific programs covering access to space (developing the launcher sector, financing the Guiana Space Centre), sustainable development (GMES), meteorology (third-generation geostationary satellite), space communications, exploring the solar system and security, including launching a preparatory program for monitoring space (SSA: Space Situational Awareness).
Space exploration constitutes a domain where missions can only be conceived as part of global cooperation. The first conference on space exploration, whose principle had been decided at the Fifth Space Council (September 26th, 2008), was held on October 22nd-23rd, 2009 in Prague. During the Second Exploration Conference (October 21st, 2010), held under the Belgian Presidency of the European Union, it was decided to create a political forum which will be responsible for defining the outlines of a global exploration program, to identify scientific objectives, and set up a map of skills. Italy is to host the first meeting of such a forum in late 2011.