Over 20 European Union Ambassadors and Deputy Heads of Mission visited the headquarters of the European Union Agency for the Space Programme () in Prague on May 26 to hear how the EU Space Programme is supporting European priority policies – from the Green deal to digital transition – and to learn about the Agency’s plans for the future.
Welcoming the distinguished guests, EUSPA Executive Director Rodrigo da Costa said that the creation of the new European Union Agency for the Space Programme marked a new era for the EU in space. ‘Created by the recent publication of the Space Regulation, EUSPA is a user-driven operational agency for the implementation of the Space Programme. By working with the EU27 and with our institutional partners, EUSPA ensures that industry, SMEs, entrepreneurs and citizens know that EU Space is there to server their needs, enabling innovation, competitiveness and sustainability,’ he said.
Common European determination
Addressing the guests, Jan Sechter, Deputy Minister of Transport of the Czech Republic, noted the challenges ahead for the new Agency. ‘The upcoming period will be very demanding for the Agency, because it will have to manage the full transformation from to EUSPA, which also means absorbing new tasks and responsibilities related to Earth observation, satellite telecommunication, space security, innovation and many others,’ he said. Mr Sechter gave assurances that the Czech Republic, as the hosting state, stands ready to support the agency in the future.
That the EU Space Programme is a European cooperation success story was something that was noted by the guests. ‘The recently adopted European Space Programme legislation that expands the Agency’s tasks and responsibilities illustrates well a common European determination to work together on increasingly important global themes with such a strong strategic and security dimension,’ said Dana Kovaříková, Head of the EC Representation in the Czech Republic.
During the visit, Bruno Vermeire, Chair of the EU Space Programme Security Accreditation Board, noted that ‘It is the ambition of the SAB to be the Security Accreditation Centre of Excellence for ALL the Space Components of the Union. Mitigating the cyberthreats and vulnerabilities and the security risks stemming from the supply chain has to a collective effort for all the stakeholders involved in the Union Space Programme. The close collaboration with the EU Member States is therefore essential.’.
Practical applications of space
The guests also received a presentation of some of the services and applications through which space is benefiting the lives of Europeans. EUSPA Head of Market Development Fiammetta Diani noted that, from navigation, mapping and geo-marketing, to sports, mHealth and social networking Galileo is enhancing our daily lives and making us safer.
Diani also noted that synergies between the space programme components, particularly EGNSS (Galileo and ) and Copernicus Earth observation, are enabling a more sustainable agriculture, supporting applications from environmental management and variable rate application to livestock tracking and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
Looking to the future, the Head of Market Development outlined some key objectives within EUSPA, which include positioning EGNSS as a leader thanks to its differentiators, increasing Copernicus uptake by ‘other users’ including industry, SMEs and start-ups, building the connectivity user base and supporting the EU downstream industry, with a focus on SMEs and start-ups.
The visit was well received by the guests. ‘The high point of the Portuguese Presidency (PPEU) in Prague and integral part of our Green and Digital Transition objectives, the visit to EUSPA was a great moment. Thank you Rodrigo da Costa, EUSPA Executive Director, and Dana Kovariková, Head of EC Representation in the Czech Republic,’ said H.E Luís de Almeida Sampaio, Ambassador of Portugal to the Czech Republic.
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