The Galileo Security Monitoring Centre (GSMC) is a technical infrastructure which plays a key role in ensuring the security of the EU's satellite navigation programme Galileo, including its Public Regulated Service (PRS). The GSMC has its main and operational location in France and its back-up site in the United Kingdom (Swanwick). As a consequence of the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the EU, the GSMC's back-up site needs to be relocated from the United Kingdom to one of the 27 EU Member States.
Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Elżbieta Bieńkowska said: "Europe's satellite navigation system Galileo has already been delivering high quality services for over a year now. With today's decision the Commission is taking the necessary operational steps to ensure business continuity and preserve the security of the Galileo system.”
On 1 August 2017, the Commission launched an open and transparent call for expressions of interest to host the back-up site of the GSMC. Six Member States (Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Spain) submitted proposals which the Commission assessed according to objective technical, security, financial and programmatic criteria on the basis of the rules foreseen in the Galileo Regulation. On 18 January 2018, representatives of 27 Member States in the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) Programmes Committee voted in favour of the Commission proposal to relocate the back-up site to Spain. With today's formal decision, the Commission is launching the process for the transfer of the back-up site from the UK to Spain.
The new site will become operational in the coming months, subject to its prior accreditation by the Security Accreditation Board for European GNSS Systems. The hosting Member State will bear the costs for hosting the back-up site, while the EU will bear the costs of staffing and Galileo equipment. The GNSS Agency in Prague (GSA) will decide on the number of staff to operate the back-up centre.
Galileo is a key component of the Commission's Space Strategy, which focuses on fostering new services, creating business opportunities, promoting Europe's leadership in space and maintaining Europe's strategic autonomy. The high-precision global satellite navigation system already supports emergency operations, provides more accurate navigation services, offers better time synchronisation for critical infrastructures and ensures secure services for public authorities.
The Galileo Public Regulated Service (PRS) is an encrypted navigation service for government-authorised users, such as civil protection services, customs officers and the police. This system is particularly robust and fully encrypted to provide service continuity for government users during emergencies or crisis situations.
A growing number of companies and innovative start-ups are using Galileo data and enabling their devices, including the newest versions of smartphones (find out if your device is Galileo-enabled).
Once the constellation is completed, it will improve in-car navigation and mobile phone signals, help road and rail transport become safer and act as a catalyst for R&D and high-tech job creation around Europe.