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#Brexit satellite disruption to cost UK £1 billion per day

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Losing the European Galileo GPS system as a result of Brexit is set to cost the UK £1 billion every day due to affected sat navs, mobile apps and aircraft tech, research reveals.

The Spaceport Case File looks at the space sector in the UK, including how the encrypted system was planned to enhance Britain’s critical applications once fully operational in 2026, including military drones, autonomous vehicles and commercial uses.

To date, the UK has invested £1.2bn into Galileo’s development. However, with Brexit pulling the plug on UK defence and safety participation, the UK will lose access to the satellite system and the money - without having a GNSS of its own in place.

This lack of GNSS would have significant impacts on critical UK infrastructure, resulting in vulnerabilities in telecommunication networks, compromised power distribution across the electric grid and access to cash from SWIFT-based ATMs, the government claims

Although it’s impossible to know exactly what the effects of losing a GNSS would be to the UK, broad analysis implies that losing access to Galileo will also negatively impact the emergency services, as it will leave key services vulnerable to hacking.

As it stands, UK police, ambulance and fire services alone cite estimated GVA contributing benefits of £96.5 million due to GNSS, as the system helps to keep maintenance costs down and allows dispatchers to optimize the use of emergency vehicles.

Snapshot of annual key sector contributing benefits from GNSS

 

Sector

Description of GNSS applications

Estimated GVA benefits £

Estimated utility benefits £

Weather forecasting

Radio-occultation, lightning detection and sensor positioning

£75m

£25m

Offender tracking

Offender tagging and prison place management

£30.8m

-

Cellular telecommunications

Radio frequency stability

£5m

-

Across all key sectors - including health, communications and government - the loss of access to a global satellite system works out to a staggering £365bn per year, or 17% of the total UK economy (GDP).

As well as losing out on its £1.2bn Galileo investment, the UK is set to invest a further £92m of its Brexit readiness fund into development of an independent satellite system. This will mark a significant expansion of the UK space sector, alongside the three planned spaceports which will begin satellite launches this year from Cornwall.

Despite concerns around space debris and emissions, the spaceports are expected to have significant financial benefits for the UK. All three sites could provide £469m benefit to the UK economy, based on the average return rate of £2-4 for every £1 of investment into earth observation applications.

  • The UK is set to forfeit use of the leading global satellite navigation system, Galileo, after withdrawing from the EU, new research shows.

  • This sustained disruption to sat-nav could cost the UK economy £1 billion per day as a result of compromised critical military and commercial applications.

  • Stay in Cornwall’s Spaceport Case File reveals the economic, environmental, academic, and employment impacts of expanding the UK space sector.

  • The UK has already invested £1.2bn into Galileo, and will now have to spend an additional £92m to develop an independent satellite system.

To read more about the impacts of the spaceport in the Spaceport Case File, click here.

Economy

Soros calls for EU to issue ‘perpetual bonds’ through enhanced cooperation

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In an opinion piece in Project Syndicate, George Soros outlined his idea of how the current impasse with Poland and Hungary over rule of law conditionality can be surmounted. 

Soros attributes Hungary’s veto of the EU budget and COVID-19 recovery fund to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s concerns that the EU’s new rule of law conditionality linked to the budget would “impose practical limits on his personal and political corruption [...] He [Orbán] is so worried that he has concluded a binding cooperation agreement with Poland, dragging that country down with him”.

Soros says the “enhanced cooperation” procedure introduced in the Lisbon Treaty to “provide a legal basis for further eurozone integration” could be used. 

Enhanced cooperation allows a group of at least nine nations to implement measures if all member states fail to reach agreement, other countries can join later if they want. The procedure is designed to overcome paralysis. Soros argues that a “sub-group of member states” could set a budget and agree on a way to fund it – such as through a “joint bond”.

Soros has previously argued that the EU should issue perpetual bonds, but now regards this as impossible, “because of a lack of faith among investors that the EU will survive.” He says these bonds would be “readily accepted by long-term investors such as life-insurance companies”. 

Soros also places some of the blame at the door of the so-called Frugal Five (Austria, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden) who are “more interested in saving money than in contributing to the common good”. 

Italy, according to Soros, needs the benefits from perpetual bonds more than other countries, but “is not fortunate enough” to be able to issue them in its own name. It would be a “wonderful gesture of solidarity”, adding that Italy is also the EU’s third largest economy: “Where would the EU be without Italy?” 

Providing health care and resuscitating the economy, says Soros, will require much more than the €1.8 trillion ($2.2 trillion) earmarked in the new Next Generation EU budget and recovery fund.

George Soros is Chairman of Soros Fund Management and the Open Society Foundations. A pioneer of the hedge-fund industry, he is the author of The Alchemy of Finance, The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What it Means, and, most recently, In Defense of Open Society.

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EU

EU/US agreement will reassert the co-operation of open societies

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Today (30 November) ambassadors will gather in Brussels to prepare for next week’s Foreign Affairs Council and European Council of heads of government. Top of the list will be the future of EU/US relations.

The discussions will focus on five building blocks: Fighting the COVID-19; enhancing economic recovery; combatting climate change; upholding multilateralism; and, promoting peace and security. 

A strategy paper places the emphasis on the cooperation of open democratic societies and market economies, as a way of addressing the strategic challenge presented by China's growing international assertiveness.

The European Council president Charles Michel will be consulting with leaders over the next week and will also coordinate with NATO to plan a summit in the first half of 2021.

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coronavirus

Italy reports 26,323 new coronavirus cases, 686 deaths

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Italy reported 686 COVID-19-related deaths on Saturday (28 November), against 827 the day before, and 26,323 new infections, down from 28,352 on Friday (27 November), the health ministry said, writes .

There were 225,940 swabs carried out in the past day, compared with a previous 222,803.

Italy was the first Western country to be hit by the virus and has seen 54,363 COVID-19 fatalities since its outbreak emerged in February, the second highest toll in Europe after Britain. It has also registered 1.564 million cases.

While Italy’s daily death tolls have been amongst the highest in Europe over recent days, the rise in hospital admissions and intensive care occupancy has slowed, suggesting the latest wave of infections was receding.

The health ministry said on Friday it would ease anti-COVID-19 restrictions in five regions as of 29 November, including in the country’s richest and most populous region, Lombardy.

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