The deployment phase for GALILEO, the European programme of civil radio-navigation by satellite is imminent. It will begin in 2006. GALILEO is compatible and interoperable with the American GPS, but will furnish a more precise, continuous and guaranteed signal. It will allow a multitude of applications for the general public and professionals on a worldwide scale as from it becoming operational in 2008. The recently operational EGNOS system is the precursor of GALILEO. The economic benefits expected from GALILEO are staggering and explain the commercial attraction of the programme and the commitment of the private sector. Precision, reliability, the multiple applications of GALILEO and its global coverage explain why many third countries wish to participate in the programme.