MEPs on Wednesday approved a new European Space programme with a seven-year budget of €14.8 billion uniting all EU space activities in one place and expanding the scope and strengthening the competencies of Prague-based European GNSS Agency (GSA).
The decision needs to be confirmed by member states.
As a part of the change, the GSA will be transformed into the EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) in the coming years. The agency’s 200 current staff will also be tripled in the process.
The body has also approved the seven-year EU Space Programme with an unprecedented budget of €14.8 billion, which will be primarily allocated to construction, maintenance and operating of satellite systems.
“The bulk of the €14.8 billion budget will be allocated to Galileo and EGNOS, the EU’s global and regional satellite navigation systems, as well as Copernicus, the EU’s Earth Observation programme,” is stated in a press release of the European Parliament. The lion’s share of the budget – around two-thirds – will go to programmes managed from Prague.
GSA is already preparing for the changes. Rodrigo da Costa, executive director of the agency, said: “EUSPA is ready to implement the EU Space Programme and join hands with our partners to make the EU space ambitions a reality. We will boost our support to reinforce the dynamic and innovative downstream sector because we want society to benefit even more from space-based services.”
“We will continue delivering and enhancing safe and secure navigation services for the EU citizens and the Member States. We are committed to getting the best out of the EU Space Programme components, in particular Galileo, EGNOS, Copernicus and the upcoming GOVSATCOM, and are ready to contribute to new initiatives such as space-based secure connectivity,” he adds.
Evžen Tošenovský, MEP from ODS, claimed that despite not having a priority in the selection of suppliers or workers, the Czech Republic will still benefit immensely from the expansion of the GSA since it might bring new opportunities for Czech companies and universities.
The aforementioned decisions were made at a plenary session of the European Parliament last Tuesday. Once formally confirmed by the member states, the changes will enter into force retroactively from 1 January this year.