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European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery]

Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska's closing speech at 7th Annual European Space Conference

Brussels, 28 January 2015

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure for me to be here.

It is also a pleasure to see you all. I am very pleased to see Vice-President Antonio Tajani. As Commissioner, Vice-President Tajani did a huge amount on space policy. Thank you for your work. I want to build on what you achieved.


This is my first time at this annual conference. But it is important to be here.

Just look at the topics you discussed today. Global competition. European industrial policy. Climate change.

These are greatly important. And as you saw, space policy is crucial to them all.

My focus is on jobs and growth. And effective space policy will contribute to that.

Space is a highly strategic sector. If we get policy right, it will help us build our industrial base. And that will mean more investment. More growth. More jobs.

We have important instruments at our disposal:

  • the flagship programmes Galileo and Copernicus.
  • the wider space research programme

I will speak about each of these. I will also speak about the link with our industrial policy. And I will say a few words about governance.



My objective over the next five years is simple.

Provide early Galileo services by 2016 at the latest

Provide full services by 2020.

We have an obligation to deliver.

My strategy is also simple.

Build on what we have achieved. I will focus work in three areas:

  1. Deploying the infrastructure;
  2. Providing services as they come on stream; and
  3. Establishing Galileo in the market.

But my first aim is to start launching satellites again. We had a setback. But we will go forward again.

This morning the College of Commissioners discussed how we do so.

We all agreed on the importance of Galileo. Galileo must be and will be a success.

We agreed to resume launches in March. We aim to launch at least 6 satellites this year.

And we agreed to contract insurance for the next launches.

I am determined to put the Galileo programme back on track.

I am determined to deliver services on time and on budget.

I am determined to ensure strong market take up.



Let me turn to Copernicus.

It is already a success story.

The first services are fully operational.

Our first dedicated Satellite, Sentinel 1-A, is delivering images of excellent quality.

We must build on this.

We face three key challenges :

  1. We must deploy the full constellation of Sentinels. We will start with Sentinel 2-A and 3-A later this year. Other satellites will follow in 2017.
  2. We must keep building our capacity to handle data from Copernicus. Copernicus will generate a massive amount of data and information. We need to keep building the capacity to deal with that. Big Data and Cloud solutions will be crucial.
  3. We must encourage user-uptake of data from Copernicus. We must promote a strong downstream market for data. We must encourage the creation of new business models. Innovative uses of data. And new jobs.


Space Research Policy

Copernicus and Galileo will deliver major results.

But on their own, they are not enough.

We need to put Europe in a leadership position.

We need to end our dependence on critical space technology.

We need to build a competitive advantage in exports.

This is the objective of our space research programme. We have a budget of more than 1.4 billion Euros within Horizon 2020. We need to make that money work.

Let me give three examples of what we are doing.

First, we are working on the protection of space infrastructure. Space has both a civil and military nature. We cannot get away from that. We need to be realistic and protect ourselves.

So last year, we decided to set up a Space Surveillance and Tracking Support (SST) Framework.

We will pull together existing assets from Member States into one network. By the end of this month, interested Member States will be able to apply to join the SST consortium.

Second, we are working on ensuring that Europe has its own access to space. The development of Ariane 6 is key. I strongly welcome the agreement.

As Vice President Sefcovic said yesterday, we are looking at how to go further to fulfil our common aims in this area.

Third, we are working on improving cooperation. If we want a strong industrial base for Europe here, Member States, institutions and the space industry must work hand-in-hand.


The link with our industrial policy

But this work needs to be linked to our industrial policy.

We must createthe right conditions for these industries to generate growth and jobs in Europe. We must create the right conditions for scientific excellence.

We intend to act in five areas.

  1. space procurement including launchers,
  2. export support measures in the space sector,
  3. sustainability of space activities,
  4. better policy and industrial planning through the provision of strategic and forward-looking information on Member States' space programmes,
  5. And completing our internal market. This is why we proposed a directive on High Resolution Satellite data.

Our objectives are clear with this directive.

We want to create the right conditions for high resolution data to flow across the EU.

We want this to happen in a transparent, non-discriminatory and timely way.

If we want a competitive, innovative and dynamic market for space applications, this is essential.

I know that this directive raises concerns in some Member States. But without it, we cannot develop a true internal market in this area.


Space Governance

Last but not least, space governance.

I believe we need better, more efficient and more coherent governance of space activities in Europe.

This has been discussed for years. Several options have been presented.

But as new Commissioner, I will look at these questions with fresh eyes. We must make progress.

There is a window of opportunity to build better relations between ESA and EU.

And I will work closely with all interested parties to reach a common view on how we go forward.



Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me come back to what I said at the start.

Our space policy is about the search for scientific excellence. Space industries and research organisations are a showcase for European integration.

But our space policy is also about creating jobs and growth. It has huge potential for our economy.

We need a competitive European space sector that generates jobs. It is a core part of the policy programme of the new Commission. Space projects should be part of the ambitious 315 billion Euro investment package that President Juncker has proposed.

We need to build on our work. We need to be ambitious. We need to be effective.

We count on your support.

Thank you.


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