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IP/04/1461

Brussels, 10 December 2004

GALILEO on the home straight

GALILEO will definitely become operational in 2008: a decisive stage has just been completed which will allow the GALILEO programme to be fully completed, despite the obstacles along the way. On a proposal from the Commission, the Council has today confirmed the technical characteristics of the system, in particular with regard to the services being offered. It has decided in favour of moving on to the launching (2006-2008) and operational phases of the project and confirmed that the European Union will contribute to the funding of those two phases. “GALILEO is without a doubt the most wonderful European technological project. We are now on the home straight: next year will see the launch of the first satellites", said Jacques Barrot, Vice-President of the Commission. “GALILEO will be as much of a technological revolution as mobile telephony. This venture shows how capable Europe is of making a united effort in pursuit of a common goal"

GALILEO is the European satellite radio navigation programme [1] launched at the initiative of the European Commission. It promises the development of a new generation of universal services in areas such as transport, the environment, agriculture and fisheries. GALILEO will become the global standard for civil navigation by satellite and there will be total interoperability between the European and US systems

The programme will be developed in 4 phases: definition of the project; development between 2002 and 2005 (total costs : € 1.1 billion); deployment from 2006 to 2008, (€ 2.1 billion - 1/3 public sector, 2/3 private sector) ; and then operation and exploitation. Exploitation costs are estimated at € 220 million a year with an exceptional contribution of the public sector for the first few years of € 500 million. Thereafter, these costs will be entirely covered by the private sector.

The “deployment” phase, which today got the green light and during which satellites and ground receiving stations are to be built and launched, is the phase which is crucial to making GALILEO operational.

The private sector has confirmed its significant commitment to the funding of the GALILEO system on the basis of business plans which demonstrate the commercial viability of the programme as a result of the significant income it will generate. The next stages of the programme will be dedicated to the selection, before the end of February 2005, of one of the two applicants still competing to operate the system by the GALILEO Joint Undertaking and, subsequently, to negotiation of the concession contract in 2005.

The Commission is committed to promoting the use of satellite radionavigation and to developing the related markets.

Three European legislative instruments advocate or already require the use of satellite navigation for the satellite monitoring of ships, the interoperability of electronic road toll systems in the EU and the protection of animals during transportation. That is only the start. At the same time, the Commission is continuing to negotiate cooperation agreements with third countries.

Further information about GALILEO is available on the following websites:
http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/energy_transport/galileo/index_en.htm
http://www.esa.int/export/esaSA/navigation.html
http://www.galileoju.com


[1] Satellite radionavigation enables anyone with a receptor to determine their position very accurately at any time by the use of signals transmitted by several satellites.


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