On 15 May 2003 the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the European Space Agency. The resolution delivers a strong message on the current crisis in the space sector, particularly in view of the next ESA Council meeting at ministerial level. This resolution complements the EU Council resolution approved on 13 May, which was an initiative of the Greek EU Council Presidency.
The resolution reads as follows:The European Parliament,
having regard to its resolution of 17 January 2002 on the Commission communication to the Council and the European Parliament on Europe and Space: Turning to a new Chapter(1),
having regard to its resolutions on GALILEO,
having regard to the Commission's Green Book on European space policy (COM(2003) 17),
whereas the meeting of the ESA Ministerial Council on 27 May 2003 is expected to reach decisions of major importance for the space industry,
A. having regard to the unprecedented crisis in the EU's space industry, arising variously from increased international demand for launchers, stagnation in commercial launching requirements and the structural weakness of the European institutional market,
B. having regard to the pressing need to overcome the technical problems relating to the new Ariane 5G as soon as possible, so as to ensure that all the orders on Arianespace's books are honoured,
C. having regard to the direct and indirect public aid made available to the launchers competing with Ariane,
D. recalling and reaffirming the attachment of the European public to the continuation and development of the skills and knowledge acquired over more than 40 years in the field of space technology and their multiple knock-on effects in daily life,
1. Reiterates the need to ensure that the EU has independent access to space via the mastery and development of the appropriate technologies;
2. Calls on the Member States which are members of the European Space Agency to wake up to the crisis affecting the EU's space industry and the urgent need to find the necessary solutions with a view to the consolidation and reorganisation of the Union's space sector as a whole;
3. Urges the Member States concerned to overcome their differences and put the common interest first, in order to ensure that a final decision is reached, in transparent conditions, on the financing and management of the GALILEO programme, enabling it to be rapidly implemented in tandem with the relaunch of the European launcher Ariane 5G;
4. Calls on the Commission, should no agreement be reached at the ESA's ministerial meeting on 27 May 2003, to take the initiative and propose, if necessary, the creation of a joint enterprise on a unilateral basis, so as to ensure that the GALILEO programme takes off;
5. Welcomes the presence of the European space objective in the present text of Article 3 of the draft constitutional treaty drawn up by the European Convention, and believes that the European space policy should be included among the competences shared by the Union and the Member States,
6. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European Space Agency and the governments of the Member States.