GALILEO JOINT UNDERTAKING
Draft Council Resolution: GALILEO Involving Europe in a new
generation of satellite navigation services.
Draft Commission Regulation on the establishment of a Galileo joint
||(b) Article 171 EC; consultation; qualified majority voting
||(b) 20 June 2001|
|Forwarded to the Council:
||(b) 22 June 2001|
|Deposited in Parliament:
||(b) 10 July 2001|
||Transport, Local Government and the Regions
|Basis of consideration:
||(a) Minister's letters of 2 April and 9 May 2001
(b) EM of 3 August 2001
|Previous Committee Report:
||(a) HC 28-i (2000-01), paragraph 17 (13 December 2000) and HC 28-vii (2000-01), paragraph 8 (28 February 2001)|
|To be discussed in Council:
||(b) 6 December 2001
||(Both) Not cleared; further information requested
6.1 Galileo is a joint initiative between the
EU and the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop a European civilian
satellite navigation system.
6.2 In April 1999 we scrutinised a Commission
Communication: Galileo Involving Europe in a New Generation
of Satellite Navigation Services.
That document examined the existing two global navigation satellite
systems the US Global Positioning System (GPS) and the
Russian Global Navigation Satellite System. The Commission rejected
reliance on either of these two systems and instead advocated
an EU system Galileo. The document was later debated in
European Standing Committee A.
6.3 We considered a draft Council Resolution
setting out how to proceed with the Galileo project in February
2001 (document (a)), and requested information on the substantive
areas that divided the parties. This information was provided
in the Minister's letter of 2 April, but we decided to wait until
the Commission submitted proposals before considering again whether
to clear the document.
6.4 This present document (b) builds on the Communication
and the Resolution. It aims to set up a joint undertaking with
responsibility for implementing the development phase
and preparing for the subsequent phases of the project.
6.5 The proposed Regulation states that the joint
undertaking will be based in Brussels and sets out its aims and
statutes. The main tasks of the joint undertaking are:
overseeing the implementation
of the development phase and preparing for the deployment phase;
through the ESA, launching the research and
development activities needed successfully to complete the phase
for the development and co-ordination of national activities as
well as launching a first series of satellites to finalise technological
developments, and ensuring the large-scale demonstration of the
capabilities and reliability of the system; and
mobilising the public and private funds needed
and setting up the management structures for the various phases
of the programme.
6.6 The most important provisions of the statutes
the founder members
will be the ESA and the Community, represented by the Commission.
The European Investment Bank and private companies which have
subscribed a minimum initial capital of 20 million euros may also
the ESA will be entrusted
to carry out activities required during the development phase.
Articles 7 to 10
the joint undertaking
will be headed by an Administrative Board, an Executive Committee
and a Director. Where necessary an Advisory Committee can be consulted.
the joint undertaking
is to be set up for four years.
any matter not covered
by the statutes will be covered by the law of the state where
the undertaking has its seat.
The Government's view
6.7 In his Explanatory Memorandum the Minister
for Transport at the Department for Transport, Local Government
and the Regions (Mr John Spellar) tells us:
"The UK Government continues
to support Galileo in principle, but, like some other Member States,
it remains concerned about many aspects of the Galileo programme.
These concerns were recognised by the Transport Council in April
this year when it endorsed a number of conditions for the future
development of Galileo. These included the need for improved project
"The Government supports the need for a single
procurement and project management structure and is currently
considering the draft Statutes of the joint undertaking. There
are a number of concerns, including the lack of direct control
by Member States, the extent of Commission control, the proposed
role of the European Space Agency, and the basis for involvement
of the private sector. There are also concerns on whether the
proposed structure will be conducive to attracting private sector
involvement and funding in the subsequent phases of the project."
6.8 The Minister notes that two reports from
the Commission may solve some but not all of these problems. The
Commission Working Paper which provides the cost benefit analysis
of Galileo is yet to be studied by the Council. A further financial
study on Galileo is expected by the end of November.
6.9 Previous proposals relating to Galileo
have been characterised by undue haste on the part of the Commission.
We are therefore pleased that on this occasion there appears to
be a more detailed analysis of the Galileo project and that more
studies are being conducted into its financial aspects. However
we are concerned to note that the Transport Council planned to
reach political agreement at its meeting on 16 October. The Conclusions
of that Council make no mention of the joint undertaking and we
seek confirmation from the Government that political agreement
was not reached at the meeting.
6.10 The concerns highlighted by the Minister
are serious ones. We request further information from the Minister
on the proposals the Government will be putting to the Council
to resolve them, on how much support there is for the Government's
stance from other Member States, and on whether the Government
is likely to be able to assemble a blocking minority.
6.11 Meanwhile we do not clear the documents.
38 (19950) 6528/99; see HC 34-xvii (1998-99), paragraph
1 (28 April 1999). Back
establishment of Galileo is set out in stages: phase 1 is the
development and validation stage (2001-2005); this is followed
by the deployment phase (2006-2007) and an operational stage from
2008 onwards. Back