Video conference of space ministers, 20 November 2020

Met dank overgenomen van Raad van de Europese Unie (Raad) i, gepubliceerd op vrijdag 20 november 2020, 16:30.

Main results

Europe’s role in the global space economy

Ministers had an informal exchange of views via video conference on Europe’s role in the global space economy. They discussed how the EU i could enhance the competitiveness of its space industry and play a bigger role in shaping international regulatory regimes.

The global space economy provides huge opportunities for Europe’s highly competitive space industry and service providers. The European Union, the European Space Agency and the Member States are joining forces to foster technological competitiveness, to create a global level-playing field and to shape international rules for decisive regulatory areas such as space traffic management and cybersecurity.

Peter Altmaier, German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy

Ministers stressed the need for the European Council guidelines on ensuring and developing the EU's strategic autonomy also to be put into practice in the field of space.

They emphasised the important role played by the space sector both generally and more specifically in the context of the green and digital transition.

Many delegations pointed out that data from space applications is used in a wide range of areas such as artificial intelligence, telecommunications, energy, transport, agriculture, disaster prevention and the fight against climate change.

Ministers highlighted the significance of the European flagship programmes Copernicus and Galileo and the need to keep them operational and develop them further.

They pointed out that cybersecurity needs special attention in the field of space.

Many ministers spoke in favour of stronger cooperation and coordination in order to have an impact at international level. Several ministers mentioned space traffic management as an area where regulation and standards were needed. Protection of intellectual rights was also raised as an important issue.

Several ministers highlighted the importance of enhancing the competitiveness of the European space industry in global markets, in a context of increased space commercialisation. In this respect, it was pointed out that the space industry needs an enabling environment in which to deliver innovative solutions, as well as innovative financing solutions. In order to achieve a fair global market in space, ministers considered that it would be essential to create a level playing-field between all players.

European space policy - Preparation for the Space Council

Ministers prepared the meeting of the tenth Space Council[1], which would be held by video conference on the same day. As part of this preparation, the Council had recently adopted a set of conclusions (see link below). It was noted that the Space Council would hold a policy debate on the European contribution to establishing key principles for the global space economy.

[1] The Space Council is a joint and concomitant meeting of the EU Council (Competitiveness - Space configuration) and of the ESA Council at Ministerial level. It is a forum enabling the EU and the European Space Agency (ESA) to coordinate cooperative activities on European space policy. ESA is composed of 22 member states: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sweden (which are also EU Member States) + the United Kingdom, Norway and Switzerland. Canada also sits on the Council and takes part in some projects under a Cooperation Agreement. Slovenia is an Associate Member. Seven other EU member states have Cooperation Agreements with ESA: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Slovakia.

Any other business

Work programme of the incoming presidency

The Portuguese delegation presented the priorities of its upcoming presidency in the field of space. It was noted that it intends to focus on:

  • building the foundations for a European strategy for New Space, opening access to space and the deployment of satellite data,
  • reinforcing European space ecosystems and downstream business sectors across Europe, towards the ‘Digital Planet’ through systems integration with advanced IT,
  • improving resilience of value chains and the inclusion of RTOs, SMEs and start-ups,
  • mobilizing space technologies and data for sustainable development of coastal areas and the blue economy,
  • cooperation between space and non-space sectors and data applications for a sustainable, green and digital transition, promoting new paths of economic activities in the ‘Anthropocene’,
  • reinforcing EU-Africa collaboration.

Meeting information

  • Meeting n°VC-COMP-201120
  • Video conference
  • 20 November 2020
  • 09:00

Preparatory documents

Outcome documents