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New law to reinforce independence of satellite security system accreditation at the GSA

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The European Commission welcomed the European Parliament vote today in favour of a Commission proposal to grant greater independence for the security accreditation aspect of the EU's satellite navigation programmes, as operated by the EU's GNSS Agency (GSA).

European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship said: "The GSA is making steady progress in to preparing the EU's satellite navigation system, Galileo, to be fully operational, as well as the world leading satellite navigation system for civilian applications. These proposed changes to the GNSS Agency would enhance its effectiveness by ensuring a high, robust, and uniform level of security for all aspects of the system.”

The GSA's main tasks include assisting with the market development of the EU's satellite navigation system products and also ensuring security accreditation for aspects such as satellites, launchers and sites. The amendment to the GSA regulation will eliminate any potential conflicts of interest by reinforcing the 'Chinese wall' between the part of the GSA that deals with the security accreditation of operations, and the sections that verify compliance with the security rules in place - such as that of the Galileo and EGNOS programmes. The proposed amendment will also align the GSA with the principles of the Common Approach agreed by European institutions for decentralised EU agencies and allow it to recruit necessary additional technical staff.

More information available at:

Satellite navigation and the EU: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/satnav/galileo/index_en.htm

GNSS Agency: www.gsa.europa.eu

Changes to GSA strengthen security accreditation and comply with principles for EU Agencies

The amendment of the current regulation setting up the GSA is necessary to:

  • set up a tangible and effective structural separation between the activities of the GSA relating to security accreditation and the other activities of the Agency, in particular those relating to the exploitation phase of the Galileo and EGNOS programmes;
  • incorporate changes in the legal text to bring it into line with the principles contained in the Common Approach of the European Parliament, Council and Commission on the decentralised agencies.

GSA to be reinforced with extra technical staff

The modification in the governance structure by the GNSS Regulation implies an increase of staff. Although the GSA will externalise a large number of operational tasks, it needs sufficient and appropriate technical experts to manage procurement, monitor and control outsourced activities. . Considering the complexity of the programmes, it is also important to avoid intellectual hazard. The extra staff will be funded by a transfer from the budget of the GNSS programmes.

For more information on financing of the EU's space programmes, please see:

IP/13/1129 - Parliament approves financing for the European satellite navigation programmes until 2020

Next Steps

The Galileo and EGNOS programmes are in a decisive phase this year. With the launch of six additional Galileo satellites, initial Galileo services could be available at the end of 2014/beginning of 2015. For more information see: IP/14/80 - European Satellite Navigation Galileo services will start at the end of 2014

Background

The new GNSS Regulation (Regulation EU 1285/2013), which entered into force on 1 January 2014, defines the public governance of the Galileo and EGNOS programmes. It also extends the tasks entrusted to the GSA and provides for the GSA to play a major role in the exploitation phase of the Galileo and EGNOS programmes. It also entrusts the task of security accreditation to the Agency. In this context, it is essential to ensure that the Security Accreditation Board, the body responsible for security accreditation within the GSA, is able to carry out the task entrusted to it with complete independence, in particular vis-à-vis the other bodies and activities of the GSA.

Galileo is the programme of the European Commission to develop a global satellite navigation system under European civilian control. EGNOS, the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service is improving the GPS signals in Europe.

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