FUTURE OF EUROPEAN AEROSPACE:
A SHARED VISION FOR 2020
Hamburg, 29 January 2001
from an original French text Checked against delivery !
the Panel of Personalities which produced the report that we are
making public today was my idea, I intend to focus my speech on
the reasons for setting up that Panel and on certain of the institutional
and political conclusions to be drawn from this.
will leave it to Mr EVANS and Mr LAGARDERE, both of whom are eminent
members of the Panel and key players in the aerospace industry to
describe its economic and industrial aspects. They will certainly
also express their overall view of the matter since it is only an
apparent paradox that, in this area, the dynamism of the industry
outpaces policies and is frequently the driving force behind these.
the Panel of Personalities?
the dawn of this new century, European aerospace must face major
economic, industrial and technological challenges.
Certainly, we are not starting from square one: everyone, especially
here in HAMBURG, is aware of AIRBUS's success story: the launch
of the A380. With more than 50% exported and a trade-balance surplus
of more than EUR 22 000 million, aerospace represents the highest-volume
profit maker in Europe in terms of trade. The same also applies
in the United States.
by its very nature, this situation will have to change. Two basic
factors will shape that transition:
The age of "higher, further, quicker" has reached certain
limits; the buzz words nowadays are "cheaper, safer, cleaner
and quieter". Europe will need to have the ability to define
a high-performance air transport system that incorporates the
wishes of the public;
European aerospace will also have to consolidate its position
on the world market. The current restructuring in the aerospace
industry reflects the global competition, which can only be tackled
if we gather together all of our strength. I would like to mention
two striking points:
new entrants are in a position to make an appearance, as shown
by the recent inroads into the regional aviation market made by
the Canadian and Brazilian industries;
it would seem that public research in America, both civil and
military, will continue to surpass its European counterpart in
the long term. At the moment it is even gaining pace. Furthermore,
since they are aware that their industry's position is being whittled
away, the American authorities are in the process of setting up
a presidential Commission to deal with this matter.
order to take up these challenges Europe will have to rely on its
innovative capacity even more than in the past. At the Lisbon European
Summit the Heads of State and Government stressed the leading role
to be played by research in guaranteeing the Union's economic and
social prosperity. The STOCKHOLM Summit will enable the progress
made to be measured in the spirit of that new dynamism.Chaque personne
de cet auditoire sait que le secteur aéronautique investit
en moyenne 15% de son chiffre d'affaire dans la recherche et le
is one of the first "knowledge-based industries" in Europe:
of you here today know that you are, on average, investing 15%
of your turnover in research and development;
is a technological "hot spot": its range covers basic
physics, computing and design techniques, new materials, and increasing
use of information and communication technologies.
note, however, that the advances made by the industrial organisation
of the aerospace sector in Europe are currently taking place more
quickly than those relating to the research systems. In certain
respects research is proceeding more slowly than reality;
it has thus become necessary to re-examine this situation.
With aerospace we have now reached that crucial moment when everything
is possible, but nothing is in the bag.
The current strength of European aerospace derives from strategies
hammered out several years ago. If this is intended to face new
challenges, and meet the needs of society and its position on future
markets, a new step forward must be taken.
It is thus essential that this sector, which is vital for Europe's
economy and activity, should take a long-term view of its research
needs.De fait, avec l'aéronautique, nous sommes parvenus
à ce moment crucial où tout est possible mais rien
was in order to work on that view that, during the second half of
last year, I set up a Panel of Personalities from the aerospace
world. One of this Panel's strengths is that it brings together
people from various walks of life within the air transport system,
and who represent all of its components: industrialists and manufacturers,
airports, airlines, regulators, air traffic controllers, research
I would like to offer my most heartfelt thanks to each of the members
who have enthusiastically agreed to devote some of their time to
this exercise. Furthermore, I would like to thank them for the quality
of the discussions that we have had and for their commitment to
breathing life into the conclusions that we have drawn from these.
The way in which this Panel has carried out its work, beyond its
wide range of interests and points of view, is in itself a form
of response. In my opinion a very interesting process has begun
there, which shows that we in Europe are capable of sharing a vision,
of identifying future challenges and a common way of dealing with
was considered first of all that, in order to shape that vision,
it would be most appropriate to focus on the year 2020. Aerospace
and air transport both require long-term thinking. Certain parts
of the basic research currently taking place will be incorporated
into goods and services that will only see the light of day in ten
or fifteen years' time.
The vision produced by the Panel is based on the following assumptions:
air traffic should continue to grow sharply by about 5% per year,
or in other words traffic will have doubled 20 years hence;
in another 20 years new types of aircraft might emerge in response
to the various regulatory or market constraints, all because new
technologies will have become available;
progress will certainly have been made in Europe, with the introduction
of a unified air traffic control system and an air safety authority.
The work done by my colleague in charge of transport, Mrs de PALACIO,
is heading in that direction. The liberalisation of those operators
still under direct public control will probably continue. It will
give rise to greater freedom of movement and more competition
in the supply of this type of service;
one must also expect greater competition from the United States,
which is determined to maintain its dominant position in this
area, together with other "new-entrant" countries;
constant political pressure will be applied in order to reduce
the environmental impact of the various transport modes, and in
particular air transport. That will trigger challenges that are
difficult in technical terms, but which may also become a major
factor in competition;
the European industrial scene will have evolved yet further, ranging
from multinational organisations (some no doubt spanning the Atlantic)
to the network of small and medium-sized suppliers, where the
concept of service will acquire growing stature. The general spread
of electronic commerce will certainly play an important part in
forging new relations between companies and between suppliers
report puts forward ambitious quantified aims and
is concerned as regards their credibility. The 2020 target that
it has set for the environment, for example, is a reduction by half
of perceivable noise as compared with the current average. It also
advocates a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions per passenger
kilometre, and one of 80% in nitrogen oxide emissions.
The industry itself will have to acquire market shares of more than
50% in the long term. This presupposes that very high quality products
will be supplied, being at the cutting edge of competitiveness in
all areas: from research to design, from development to production
back-up, use and maintenance.
report also highlights the particular relevance of the concept of
a European research area and of its structuring effect on aerospace.
This is, indeed, a question of better organising research in Europe
in order to make it more effective. Each of the suggested approaches
to getting the European space area up and running may find applications
in the aerospace industry. I am thinking more particularly of the
following practical aspects:
removing any pointless duplication of effort by making sure that
resources are directed to where they are of most use;
at a time when transnational companies are forming what is called
"variable geometry" should be possible. This raises
the question of the balance to be achieved between national and
Community programmes and of their structuring in the best possible
way in order to turn the shared vision of the future into reality.
Slightly more than 10 years ago there was no aerospace research
at Community level; it represents today roughly 30% of the civilian
public activity in Europe;
optimising research infrastructures, such as wind tunnels
and heavy in-flight testing equipment;
networking research centres wishing to expand their links
research and engineer mobility via the Union, as a result
of harmonising degree courses;
improving the prominence given to excellence in order to
create an aerospace "excellence clearing house" by making
sure that the best brains in non-member countries are attracted
the report's recommendations
the report puts forward recommendations and machinery for ensuring
that the various aims are achieved, more particularly as a result
of a new approach to research. It more especially identifies two
key factors in moving towards a situation:
First of all, one must be equipped to develop and constantly update
a vision of and a timetable for strategic research. This
must be accepted and shared by all of the operators in this area
who must express a willing commitment as to its content;
The report recommends that an "Advisory Council for
Aeronautics Research in Europe" be created, together
with the underlying process for producing the consensus sought,
that the necessary exchanges are provided, and that the strategy
and the cooperation needed in order to achieve success are set
out in detail. The Commission will make every effort to ensure
that this Council is set up by the middle of this year;
Secondly, it must be ensured that the best possible use is made
of the various forms of cooperation and of existing cross-frontier
partnerships, particularly between the national and EU programmes
- in order to implement that timetable.
Where appropriate, it will have to be possible to call upon various
new types of instrument. There is an emerging need, for example,
for stepping up cooperation. This could be envisaged for carefully-identified
and defined areas which could not be dealt with solely at national
level, and for which cooperation among many would be more suitable.
I am thinking more particularly of the arrangements permitted
under Article 169 of the Treaty on European Union, which permits
great flexibility in managing and defining the rules of the game,
provided that some Member States agree to act in common.
Let me make myself clear: I do not mean any machinery for exclusion,
but a will to forge ahead and a process of shared ambition. It
must be possible for all of those so wishing to join in that march
forward and to do so on the basis of their skills and their will.
Conversely, it goes without saying that if this has no place in
their priorities, this should nevertheless not constitute a barrier.
would like to say in conclusion that this report by the Panel of
Personalities should be a stepping stone towards the future for
European aerospace. Because of it we are entering a new era. A better-structured
approach to research that is more effective and able to meet the
challenges ahead may be provided on the basis of an overall vision.
If it organises itself in a shrewd manner, the European aerospace
industry will be in a position to map out its own future. It may
bring enormous benefits to the Union, its inhabitants and its industries.
Not to act today would bring great disappointment tomorrow, since
our competitors will not drag their heels.
It is true that establishing a European aerospace research area
will be a gradual process. It will be spread over several years,
forming part of the open, deliberate thrust towards coordination
desired by the Heads of State and Government. However, it is essential
to set that process in motion as soon as possible.
It is now up to the public and private decision-makers in Europe
to take the action, and to release the resources, needed in the
light of the recommendations set out in the report by the Panel
I myself feel, in particular, that the Community funds should channel
all of their efforts into providing structures, and enabling progress
to be made in bringing public research activities together at both
national and Community level. The Sixth Framework Programme should,
among other things, make use of the arrangements permitted by the
Treaty both experimentally and on a reasonable scale.
It is with this in view that I intend to include aerospace among
the priorities which will be set out in the proposed Sixth Framework
Programme which the Commission should be adopting within a few weeks.
The Union can be proud of its aerospace industry and will be able
to respond to its ambitions.