Peter Hintze, the Federal Government’s Co-ordinator of Aerospace Policy and Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, commented on the future of Europe’s GALILEO satellite navigation system:
“I regret that today saw the failure of months of negotiations within the European consortium on their participation in the building of the European satellite navigation system. It is now important to take the right decisions so that GALILEO can succeed as a driver of high technology in Europe. Europe needs an independent navigation signal which can be used reliably even in times of crisis.
The European Commission is now called on to propose without delay a viable alternative scenario which keeps an eye on the costs and takes account of the proportional funding from the member states. Here, it is also necessary to consider the possibility of the European Space Agency building the system on a public-sector basis. The ESA disposes of the necessary experience to handle large-scale technological projects in close co-operation with the member states and the European Commission. In this way, costs can be saved and further delays avoided. The operation of GALILEO can subsequently be managed by companies on the basis of individual concessions.
Any alternative concept must respect the investment undertaken by the member states. Therefore, the stipulations made in the Van Miert Agreement of 2005, for instance, must also form the basis for every future decision.
The matter is urgent, since Europe faces global competition as a base for technology. GALILEO should demonstrate Europe’s innovative capacities to the world and provide the most precise navigation signal of all time.”