Let’s talk about the European Union’s plan for space for a moment. Because besides ESA, the European Union itself also funds various space activities, for example Galileo (the European Union’s Global Satellite Navigation System (GNSS)) and Copernicus (European Programme for the establishment of a European capacity for Earth Observation).
Now about a year ago, the European Commission proposed a long-term budget for the 2021-2027 period. On 17th of April 2019, the European Parliament endorsed the provisional agreement reached by the co-legislators on the EU Space Programme for the next budget of 16 Billion € over the period from 2021 to 2027. It includes continuation for Galileo, Copernicus, Space Situational Awarness.
In the words of Massimo Salini, an Italian member of the EPP group “The navigation system and the earth observation improve the performance of transport services, that will produce many benefits at global and European level. A more efficient traffic management will reduce emissions and tackle the problem of climate change, an increased use of drones will improve delivery and postal services, better flight tracking will reduce flight cancellations and noise.”
Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs stated: “With the new Space Programme we also introduce new security-related space initiatives: space and situational awareness (SSA) and Governmental Satellite Communication (GOVSATCOM). We will also put the European space sector in a better position to react to the ongoing changes the space sector is undergoing worldwide. In particular, we will support a European ‘New Space’ approach with innovative start-ups, reliable and cost-effective European launch solutions and increased European technological autonomy. Space matters for Europe.”
Now this budget ist not yet finalized – it has still to find the approval of the member states. As such, it may be caught up in whatever Brexit may yet have in store for us, even thought the Financial Times thinks that won’t be so because “The EU’s next long term budget is unlikely to come to a vote within the next year…”, which the EU space programme is subject to.