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Brussels, 21 October 2011
Statement of President Barroso following the launch of the two first satellites of the Galileo Programme
"Today's launch of the first Galileo satellites from Kourou, in French Guyana, is a major step for Europe and its citizens. It is of strategic importance, not only for the competitiveness of our industry and for job creation, but also to ensure Europe's independence in space technology and policy.
By starting to provide in 2014 a full range of services to all European citizens, our global navigation satellite system will improve our daily lives : its precision positioning will increase our mobility; its interoperable Safety-of-Life service will make transport around the world safer; it will bring us more secure banking transactions and more reliable electricity provisions; it will make civil protection more robust and will help saving lives in remote areas thanks to its search and rescue capacity.
But Galileo is also an investment in Europe's industrial future and competitiveness: it will benefit companies ranging from shipping, fleet management, finance, electricity and telecommunications, with an overall impact estimated at €90 billion over the next 20 years. Space related activities are also key for Europe's 2020 strategy by creating high skilled jobs, commercial opportunities and boosting innovation all over Europe.
The Commission's recent budget proposal for the period 2014 to 2020 foresee a budget of €7 billion to implement and operate Galileo and this is clear proof of its dedication to making it a full success for the long term.
What we are witnessing today is a key milestone in ensuring Europe's independence in space technology and I am pleased to celebrate today Europe's force and dynamism through what has been achieved."