The 9th Conference on European Space Policy, under the high patronage of the European Parliament, the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and Belgian Vice Prime Minister Didier Reynders, was opened today in Brussels by Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament, and Elzbieta Bienkowska, European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs.
In his address to the gathering of officials and executives from across Europe’s space sector, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall pointed to the shared ambition of “sustaining a successful space programme for all European citizens” and hailed the European Commission’s ambitious Space Strategy for Europe that will consolidate the foundation of excellence built over the last 50 years and pave the way for more-innovative approaches.
Jean-Yves Le Gall then looked back at the successes of 2016, among them the official start of initial Galileo services on 15 December and opening of access to Copernicus data. He also underlined the success of the Ministerial Conference in Lucerne, where key decisions were reached for launchers, ExoMars, Europe’s continued participation in the International Space Station and satellites.
He continued: “Europe must rise to the competitive challenge we face, and to do so it must continue to foster cooperation between European nations, with its international partners and between public and private stakeholders. In working with our partners within ESA and pursuing bilateral ties with numerous European institutes, CNES is concentrating on where Europe can add value. By forging relations in space with an increasing number of nations around the globe, from established space powers to new entrants, it is extending the reach of European know-how.”
He concluded by identifying the assets that Europe possesses in a new world order where the space budgets of established space powers are increasing and new players are entering the space arena. “In a fast-changing environment, CNES is applying a disruptive approach to explore new concepts such as low-cost technologies, constellations and big data. By nurturing innovation and applications, our sector is showing its ability to adapt and today we can say that Europe is inventing the future of space.”