ESA and EU strengthen Europe’s competitiveness both in and through space

Press releases, 23.05.2024

State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation Martina Hirayama took part in the 11th meeting of the EU/ESA Space Council, which was held in Brussels on 23 May 2024. On this occasion, a joint resolution was adopted on the role of the space sector in boosting European competitiveness. The resolution also recognises that concerted action by ESA, the EU and their respective member states is important and that European space policy can be shaped more effectively when activities are coordinated through the EU/ESA Space Council.

The space sector, which is currently undergoing a global transformation, greatly contributes to European prosperity, competitiveness, security and autonomy. With this in mind, the countries taking part in the 11th EU/ESA Space Council noted that European space programmes are intended to serve the interests of all ESA and EU member states. As such, everyone should have the opportunity to be involved in them.

The resolution adopted by the ministers responsible for space policy recognises that the means allocated by ESA, the EU and member states to the space sector are essential in establishing, implementing and monitoring policies and strategic initiatives that encourage international cooperation and socio-economic progress as well as greater European competitiveness and resilience. The resolution states that the mobilisation of public and private resources and capacities must continue and that the private sector must be willing to take risks, including technical and financial ones, in order to drive the competitiveness of the European space sector. Finally, the resolution calls on ESA, the EU and their respective member states, working with the private sector where appropriate, to strive for the progressive adoption of rules and best practices in the space sector, including standards.

During the EU/ESA Space Council meeting, State Secretary Martina Hirayama highlighted the contribution that the space sector has made to growth and prosperity in Europe as well as to innovation and commercialisation. She also underscored the crucial importance of jointly developing favourable regulatory conditions.

The EU/ESA Space Council was first established in 2004 under the framework agreement between ESA and the EU. Its main objective is to facilitate open exchanges and debates on European cooperation in the space sector, thus contributing to Europe's globally competitive presence in space. It provides the level of coordination needed to shape European space policy. This year's Space Council meeting was held under the ESA Council presidency of Germany, with Belgium currently holding the presidency of the EU Council.

As a founding member of ESA, Switzerland has been a member of the European space family from the beginning. Through its participation in both ESA and EU programmes, Switzerland contributes to Europe's space endeavours and remains globally competitive in this sector.

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State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation SERI
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Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research