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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 28 January 2014

Majority of Europeans think space sector is a source of growth and contributor to scientific progress

Almost six out of ten Europeans think that space activities contribute to job creation in the EU, that investing in human space exploration can lead to medical progress or that space technologies have a role to play in avoiding threats such as asteroids, comets, and space debris collisions. These are among the main conclusions of a new Eurobarometer survey presented in Brussels today. The results show that Europeans increasingly recognise the importance of space for the EU and are generally positive about the current and future role of space technologies and space-derived services. The space sector is expected by survey responders to help with employment, medical advances, efficient agriculture and the management of environment and climate related concerns to name but a few sectors. Europeans also predict that the energy sector and the environment are the areas where space activities will be most likely be playing an important role in 20 years’ time.

At a conference today on space policy, European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship commented: "I am glad to see that Europeans support our space programmes. Space is a growth sector, important for job creation and innovation. This survey acknowledges that Europeans are aware that space technologies and space-based services are an important part of the daily lives of European citizens”.

More information

IP/14/80 European Satellite Navigation Galileo services will start at the end of 2014

Special Eurobarometer 403: Europeans' attitudes to Space Activities

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/space/documents/index_en.htm

Today's annual space conference, now in its sixth edition, will address the topic: “What direction for Europe in space between now and 2020?”

Space's socio-economic importance largely acknowledged by public

Space systems and space-based technologies are a critical part of the daily life of all European citizens. From telecommunications to television, weather forecasting to global financial systems, most of the key services that we all take for granted in the modern world depend on the space industry in order to function properly. Results from today's Eurobarometer show that the impact of space on society at large is acknowledged by Europeans:

  • Almost six out of ten Europeans and a majority of respondents in all Member States – except in Slovakia where respondents are divided – think that space activities contribute to job creation in the EU.

  • Almost six out of ten Europeans think that investing in human space exploration can lead to medical progress.

  • More than seven out of ten Europeans think space activities can have a positive impact on environmental protection and more efficient agricultural activities (72%), predicting weather factors (74%) and understanding climate change (73%).

  • More than one-third of Europeans say that the future combination of observations from satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles will improve security in the EU.

  • More than six Europeans out of ten agree that space technologies have a role to play in avoiding threats like asteroids, comets, and space debris collisions.

  • Europeans who think that further investment in space exploration is important highlight the following reasons: to develop and test new technologies (63%) and to make unexpected scientific discoveries (53%).

  • Almost three-quarters of Europeans think that including subjects linked to space activities in educational materials would encourage students to choose careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (73%), and that teaching subjects linked to space activities at school can help children to better imagine the society of the future (71%).

The survey aimed to measure the attitudes of the European public towards space activities in the European Union and in Croatia. It was carried out between 25 May and 9 June 2013. Some 27 680 Europeans aged 15 or over were interviewed face-to-face in the then 27 Member States of the EU, plus Croatia.

Background

The importance of space activities to the European Union is highlighted in the European Commission’s Communications "Towards a space strategy for the European Union that benefits its citizens" issued in 2011 and "EU Space Industrial Policy: Releasing the Potential for Growth in the Space Sector" issued in February 2013. These identify a range of key objectives for EU's space strategy, including the need to promote technological and scientific progress; to stimulate industrial innovation and competitiveness; to contribute to economic growth and create jobs; and to ensure that European citizens fully benefit from European space applications.

Contacts :

Carlo Corazza (+32 2 295 17 52) Twitter: @ECspokesCorazza

Sara Tironi (+32 2 299 04 03)


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