Space for Europe – Citizens’ Debate in Luzern

Press releases, 26.07.2016

On 10 September 2016, citizens from the 22 Member States of the European Space Agency ESA will participate in the first Citizens’ Debate on Space for Europe, in their respective countries. In the course of the day, citizens will have the opportunity to learn more about the significance of space and participate in the debate; proposing their views on all aspects of current and future space programmes.

In Switzerland, the debate will take place in German and in French at the Verkehrshaus, the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne, involving 100 citizens. The event is implemented by the Swiss Space Center (SSC), on behalf of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation, who invites interested participants to register their details. Registration is now open at The selection process and the complete organisation of the debate across Europe is conducted for ESA by Agence Missions Publiques, specialised in citizen participation and policy dialogue with more than fifteen years of experience in the field.

The Citizens’ Debate on Space for Europe is a major first – never before has the future of space activities been addressed in such an event held across so many countries. This consultation will take place simultaneously in each of the 22 Member States, gathering about 100 citizens, being as representative as possible of the national population. The results of the consultation will be collated – as early as 48 hours after the debate – and communicated to ESA.

Referring to this initiative, ESA Director General Jan Woerner, emphasised his commitment to ESA being more open to society and to further engaging in a dialogue with European citizens, and said, “Spaceflight, space science, exploration, Earth observation, telecommunication, satellite navigation, space technology and innovation can all help respond to societal challenges and be a source of inspiration to future generations. European citizens can help us better assess our priorities”.

Switzerland and ESA

The European Space Agency has over 70 satellites in orbit and is currently conducting 18 missions including Rosetta and Mars Express. The new European satellite navigation system Galileo, several environmental observation satellites, as well as the Ariane and Vega launch vehicles have all been developed under ESA leadership. Switzerland contributes approximately EUR 140 million annually to the ESA, whose total budget for 2016 amounts to EUR 5.3 billion. Thanks to Switzerland’s contributions, Swiss research institutes and space industry can apply and further extend their excellent scientific and technological expertise. What is more, they can benefit from competitive access to international projects and markets.

Together with Luxemburg, Switzerland has been presiding over the ESA Council at Ministerial level since 2012. This co-presidency will continue until the next Ministerial Council Meeting, which will be held in Lucerne in December 2016.

Further information:

For more information and to apply to take part in the debate

Address for enquiries:

Kamlesh Brocard
State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation
Scientific Advisor Swiss Space Office
Tel. +41 58 464 10 74


Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research