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Frequently asked questions and answers


How are the European Commission's space activities financed?

Space-based applications for the general public are financed through the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) whose budget for space comes to €1.43bn for 2007-2013.

The European Commission dedicated some €2.6bn to space applications and activities, of which €1bn is earmarked for the Galileo satellite navigation programme. A further €2.4bn was approved in December 2007 to ensure Galileo's full deployment.

Financing space activities

How do European countries work together in the space sector?

A framework agreement was concluded between the European Communities and the European Space Agency, setting up a ministerial level space council, an EC-ESA joint secretariat, and a high level space policy group which have all proved crucial for the development of a joint European space policy. This agreement is the basis on which European countries coordinate their efforts in the space sector.

How do Europeans benefit from the European space policy?

Many concrete applications have been developed through the European space policy, including in the fields of Satellite navigation, earth observation and satellite communication. Data gathered from these applications can help to locate and save the lives of crews in difficulty due to bad weather, for example.

How does the European Union cooperate with the rest of the world in the space sector?

Europe approaches international cooperation with the objective of remaining a leader in space systems and an indispensable international partner providing first class contributions to global initiatives and exerting leadership in selected domains in accordance with European interests and values.

Europe has an open attitude to cooperation regarding the space sector, making strategic choices between international partnerships or independent action. Several initiatives have been undertaken and agreements signed.

How does the space sector fit into the overall EU policy picture? Does it have any impact on other EU policies?

The EU's space policy connects many other EU policies. Satellite navigation has benefits for the transport sector, space-based services help to strengthen the security of our citizens and prevent crises thanks to the strategic observation of global developments, and space technologies can improve and strengthen development efforts. Space based systems also help to measure and predict the effects of climate change.

More information on the connections between EU policy areas:

Space and EU policy areas

What impact does the EU's space policy have on economic growth and job creation?

In 2006 the European space manufacturing industry employed around 29 000 people and generated a turnover of €5bn. Two of the six main global satellite manufacturers ( EADS Astrium and Thales Alenia Space) are European and one of the four global commercial launcher companies ( Arianespace, with close to a 50% market share) as well.

What is GMES/Copernicus?

GMES/Copernicus stands for Global Monitoring for Environment and Security. Information provided by GMES/Copernicus services is based on observation data received from Earth observation satellites and ground-based information. It will help to monitor Earth sub-systems (land, ocean and atmosphere) and assists in dealing with emergency and security issues. GMES/Copernicus will help us understand better how and in what way our planet may be changing (including climate change issues), why this is happening, and how this might influence our daily lives.

GMES/Copernicus is a joint effort European initiative led by the European Commission where the European Space Agency (ESA) coordinates the space component and the European Environment Agency (EEA) the in-situ component.

Why is space so important to the European Union?

Space systems and space-based technologies are a critical part of the daily life of all European citizens and businesses. From telecommunications to television, weather forecasting to global financial systems most of the key services in the modern world depend on space to function correctly. The European Union wants to ensure that these services are continuous and is therefore working towards non-dependence in the space sector. The space sector also has a direct impact on the economy and on society, requiring and generating new ideas and innovations

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