Space: A political and strategic goal for Europe
If Europe is to maintain its strategic independence, it must master space technology. Moving towards such a situation should be the unifying principle of space policy. The services made available by space techniques in telecommunications, television, navigation, meteorology and earth observation have penetrated all the major sectors of human activities. Their presence in daily life is now completely routine. As a result the developed countries are in a situation of profound, diverse and absolute dependency on space services, the availability of which is regarded as a matter of fact despite being the product of enormous efforts. A situation of this kind is dangerous in that it conceals, behind the daily routine, the political and global strategic issues involved in the control of space. It leads to mistaken analyses that dissimulate the global nature of the issue and the responsibility of the public authorities behind sectoral considerations that have now become necessary. In this way we tend to lose sight of a fact which must be affirmed with determination: the mastery of space is one of the bases of the information society and the decisions that affect it are political; they concern the future of Europe, its economic, cultural and political power and, ultimately, its place in the world. Making permanent the independent access to space that Ariane has given us, acquiring European independence in the field of satellite navigation with the Galileo programme, consolidating the institutional structures of European space, agreeing or refusing to open the Kourou base to foreign launchers – these are some of the major strategic decisions where space confronts the political authorities and that should be clarified by taking a global view of the issues. It is essential to formulate an energetic space policy and to submit the relevant political decisions for parliamentary discussion, for these choices are important to the national interest in the medium and long term.
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Expert-based, Innovation, IT & communication, Parliament involvement
Project leader:
Office Parlementaire d´Evaluation des Choix Scientifiques et Technologiques of the French Parliament (OPECST)