The European Investment Bank (EIB) fully supports the EU space program, which can play a key role in boosting the bloc’s efforts to combat climate change and reduce carbon emissions, said the EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle said a press briefing during the 13th online space conference on January 13th.
In response to a question about the link between the EIB’s plans to invest in the EU space sector and EU climate policy, Fayolle recalled that the EIB was transforming into a climate bank and, at the end of last year, had set very ambitious targets that the EU significantly increase scope of climate change projects. “The fact that from 2021 we have a number of projects that need to target Paris and all of this makes the EIB extremely sensitive to the issue of climate change. If you also see, for example, the debate that took place at the European Council, the connection on how we can transform the green and digital economies as quickly and fairly as possible is extremely important. It comes back to the satellites as they are key components for critical communication and information-based infrastructure for a green society. In particular, they are the key to all the data that needs to be generated, ”said the Vice-President of the EIB.
Fayolle said the EU space program is really driving digitization, which is one of the EU’s top goals for today. It will help combat climate change with data on the earth, including the oceans, make Europeans more competitive and strengthen Europe’s strategic autonomy. “For all of these reasons, it is not just a competitive system, but a key element of the Bank of the European Union’s climate protection strategy,” said Fayolle.
Space action at the heart of the EU’s strategic autonomy
Now President of the European Council Charles Michel highlighted the role of EU space policy in the bloc’s climate and digital strategy in his speech. “Just as Copernicus -“ Europe’s eyes on earth ”- sets global standards in space, the EU sets global standards for climate protection measures. We are committed to becoming the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. Just last month we agreed on a crucial step by promising to cut our CO2 emissions by 55% by 2030. With our Green Deal we operationalize these goals and use the enormous economic potential of green innovations. We want to become the green world market leader, ”said Michel. “We want to be leaders in terms of climate and digital. And we want more strategic autonomy in an open and global environment, ”he said.
European space actions can play a key role in helping the EU achieve these goals. “First, our space policy – along with a strong and dynamic space sector – is critical to the implementation of our climate and digital strategies. Copernicus is already a spectacular tool for monitoring and monitoring our planet – it provides the most accurate data on planet earth around the clock. Space communication opens up great new opportunities in the digital domain. In particular, low earth orbit satellite projects should allow us to develop broadband connectivity across Europe, a key to the success of our digital transition, ”said the President of the European Council.
“Second, we will spend 14.9 billion euros in our new household space program – a significant increase compared to our previous budget. This will help increase support for an industrial base in space that is already very competitive in private markets and has great growth potential. From data on the Internet of Things, broadband, earth observation to launch systems, ”Michel said, adding that the EU is determined to do everything possible to support and facilitate access to finance in these areas, especially for launch – UPS and SMEs. “This applies to the space sector and the digital sector, which will fuel the space economy,” he said.
After all, space has a direct impact on the EU’s geopolitical goal of achieving strategic autonomy, Michel said, adding that Europe is already a major player in space. “If we want to be stronger and more confident in the global landscape, we have to be stronger in space too. We need to ensure safe, autonomous, reliable and affordable access to space. Of course we are not alone. As space competition increases, we must use our weight as global players to help build robust global governance. This will be essential for innovative and sustainable space activities. And how we deal with space travel and space debris will also be a challenge, ”he said.
Space also presents commercial challenges. “Fair access to world markets will also be a global challenge. Europe must play a positive role in this area too, ”Michel said, noting that a resilient European space sector is essential to a resilient Europe. “The development of our space sector will help us to strengthen our strategic autonomy – in my view the number one goal of our generation. This encompasses all of our operational goals. Your field – space – will grow at a phenomenal rate. This will have a phenomenal impact on our strategic goal of greater autonomy as well. Likewise, Europe’s strength and assertiveness on the global stage will help us create a favorable context for your energies, talents and innovations in the space sector, ”he said.
Galileo & Copernicus – Consolidation
Internal Market Commissioner for his part Thierry Breton told the 13th European Space Conference that Galileo and Copernicus are established infrastructures, the best in the world and recognized as such and also essential for the green and digital transition.
“However, it is not time to be complacent and congratulate us on our achievements. We have to think ahead for the next 10 to 20 years. Galileo and Copernicus need to evolve. Otherwise, they will quickly become out of date, ”he warned. “For this reason, I have decided to preload the launch of the second generation of Galileo satellites with a first launch in 2024. We didn’t have time to lose previous technologies as we had to project Europe for the next technological races. Yes, it could bring more risks, but this is the new reality of the space business. In Europe we have to learn to take more risks, to anticipate them and to reduce them. I’m glad the industry understood this message, accepted the challenge, and made high-quality suggestions. After the technical assessment, the decision was made. It will be announced at the end of the month, ”he said.
Breton noted that with this new generation Galileo will achieve real technological breakthroughs with highly innovative satellites and technologies such as digitally configurable antennas, inter-satellite connections, new atomic clock technologies or all-electric propulsion systems. The second generation of Galileo will significantly improve service capabilities, particularly in the areas of secured navigation and resilience to emerging threats, said the commissioner. “When it comes to Copernicus, we are designing new missions today,” he said, adding that the European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded 6 new precursor missions, all of which have great potential, such as the CO2 monitoring mission or the polar mission observation mission.
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