The Council has adopted its first reading position on the proposed regulation establishing the EU space programme ( “the programme”) for the years 2021 to 2027. This follows up on a deal reached last December with the European Parliament that paves the way for the swift adoption of the draft regulation at second reading.
The EU relies on space activities as drivers of sustainable economic growth and security. Our new EU space programme will enable us to remain competitive in the New Space economy and to preserve the EU’s space sovereignty. It will boost our economic recovery from the pandemic and our transition towards a green and digital economic model.
The regulation will ensure:
- High-quality, up-to-date and secure space-related data and services;
- greater socio-economic benefits from the use of such data and services, such as increased growth and job creation in the EU;
- enhanced security and autonomy of the EU;
- a stronger role for the EU as a leading actor in the space sector.
It will achieve this by:
- Simplifying and streamlining the existing EU legal framework on space policy;
- providing the EU with an adequate space budget to continue and improve on existing space flagship programmes such as EGNOS, Galileo and Copernicus, as well as monitor space hazards under the ‘space situational awareness' component (SSA) and cater for access to secure satellite communications for national authorities (GOVSATCOM);
- establishing the rules for governance of the EU space programme;
- standardising the security framework of the space programme.
In line with the political agreement reached last December between the co-legislators, the European Parliament is expected to approve the Council’s position at first reading in April 2021. The regulation will then be deemed to have been formally adopted. It will apply retroactively from 1 January 2021.
Conference on the Future of Europe: Make your voice heard
The Executive Board approved on 9 May the Rules of Procedure that set out the composition of the Plenary of the Conference on the Future of Europe, and how it will work.
The text approved on Europe Day 2021 will complete the rules determining how the Conference Platform, Panels and Plenary can transform citizens' priorities, hopes and concerns into actionable recommendations. It adds to the rules previously adopted concerning the working methods of the Executive Board and those related to citizens' participation.
On the same day, the European Parliament in Strasbourg hosted the inaugural event of the Conference on the Future of Europe. Watch it here.
Ensuring that citizens' input will be taken into account
The Conference Plenary will be composed of 108 representatives from the European Parliament, 54 from the Council (two per member state) and three from the European Commission, as well as 108 representatives from all national Parliaments on an equal footing, and citizens. 108 citizens will participate to discuss citizens' ideas stemming from the Citizens' Panels and the Multilingual Digital Platform: 80 representatives from the European Citizens' Panels, of which at least one-third will be younger than 25, and 27 from national Citizens' Panels or Conference events (one per member state), as well as the president of the European Youth Forum.
Some 18 representatives from both the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee, and another eight from both social partners and civil society will also take part, while the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy will be invited when the international role of the EU is discussed. Representatives of key stakeholders may also be invited. The Conference Plenary will be gender-balanced.
Their exchanges will be structured thematically around recommendations from the Citizens' Panels and input gathered from the Multilingual Digital Platform. The Platform is the single place where input from all Conference-related events will be collected, analysed and published. In due course, the Plenary will submit its proposals to the Executive Board, who will draw up a report in full collaboration and full transparency with the Plenary and which will be published on the Multilingual Digital Platform.
The final outcome of the Conference will be presented in a report to the Joint Presidency. The three institutions will examine swiftly how to follow up effectively to this report, each within their own sphere of competences and in accordance with the Treaties.
Parliament's Co-Chair of the Executive Board Guy Verhofstadt said: “We want to create real momentum from the bottom up. The Conference will be much more than a listening exercise, but a way to truly include citizens in mapping out our shared European future. The foundations have been laid: digital and deliberative democratic experiments that have never been tried on an EU-wide scale. We will guarantee that their concerns and proposals will then get a political answer. It's new and exciting, and it starts today.”
The Portuguese Secretary of State for EU Affairs and Co-Chairwoman from the Presidency of the Council of the EU, Ana Paula Zacarias, said: “Coming from Porto to Strasbourg, to celebrate Europe Day and the launching of the Conference on the Future of Europe, the words of President Mario Soares came to my mind when back in 1976 he defended: ‘to rethink Europe and its future is a permanent duty of all Europeans. A joint endeavour that needs to be taken forward with humbleness facing the historic relevance of our common goals."
Commission Vice President for Democracy and Demography and Co-Chairman Dubravka Šuica, said: “This Conference is an unprecedented exercise for the EU. We are creating a space where citizens can debate on a par with elected representatives to spell out the future of Europe. This has never been tried before, but we are confident that this will strengthen both our European Union and our representative democracy. And there is no better date to celebrate that than on 9 May.”
The Executive Board will soon set the date for the first Conference Plenary meeting. Preparations for the Citizens' Panels are underway, while the number of participants and events on the Conference's Multilingual Digital Platform continue to grow. The Conference is committed to give maximum space to young people and in this vein, preparations for the European Youth Event organised by the European Parliament in October also continue.
PESCO: Canada, Norway and the United States will be invited to participate in the project Military Mobility
|Following the requests of Canada, Norway and the United States of America to participate in the PESCO project Military Mobility, the Council adopted positive decisions authorizing the co-ordinator of this project – the Netherlands – to invite the three countries. Canada, Norway and the United States of America will be the first third states to be invited to participate in a PESCO project.|
High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said: "Today, the Council approved the participation of the US, Canada and Norway in the Military Mobility PESCO project. Their expertise will contribute to the project and, with it, to improving military mobility within and beyond the EU. This is an area of shared priority and common interest in our transatlantic relations. It will make EU defence more efficient and contribute to strengthen our security."
The decisions by the Council confirm that the participation of Canada, Norway and the United States of America in the PESCO project Military Mobility meets the general conditions as established in Decision (CFSP) 2020/1639 of November 2020. Some of these conditions are political in nature; others are focused on the substantive contribution by the third state to the PESCO project, or prescribe certain legal requirements. The PESCO project Military Mobility is a strategic platform enabling the swift and seamless movement of military personnel and assets throughout the EU, whether by rail, road, air or sea.
This is important to EU security and defence, its preparedness and resilience, as well as to EU CSDP missions and operations. On 5 November 2020, the Council adopted decision (CFSP) 2020/1639 establishing the general conditions under which third states could exceptionally be invited to participate in individual PESCO projects.
EU defence cooperation: Council sets conditions for third-state participation in PESCO projects (press release 5 November 2020)
PESCO factsheet, EEASPESCO Military Mobility
Visit the website
Indo-Pacific: Council adopts conclusions on EU strategy for co-operation
The Council approved conclusions on an EU strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, setting out the EU’s intention to reinforce its strategic focus, presence and actions in this region of prime strategic importance for EU interests. The aim is to contribute to regional stability, security, prosperity and sustainable development, at a time of rising challenges and tensions in the region.
The renewed EU commitment to the Indo-Pacific, a region spanning from the east coast of Africa to the Pacific island states, will have a long-term focus and will be based on upholding democracy, human rights, the rule of law and respect for international law.
Current dynamics in the Indo-Pacific have given rise to intense geopolitical competition adding to increasing tensions on trade and supply chains as well as in technological, political and security areas. Human rights are also being challenged. These developments increasingly threaten the stability and security of the region and beyond, directly impacting on the EU’s interests.
Consequently, the EU’s approach and engagement will look to foster a rules-based international order, a level playing field, as well as an open and fair environment for trade and investment, reciprocity, the strengthening of resilience, tackling climate change and supporting connectivity with the EU. Free and open maritime supply routes in full compliance with international law remain crucial. The EU will look to work together with its partners in the Indo-Pacific on these issues of common interest.
The EU will continue to develop partnerships in the areas of security and defence, including to address maritime security, malicious cyber activities, disinformation, emerging technologies, terrorism, and organized crime.
The EU and its regional partners will also work together in order to mitigate the economic and human effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and work towards ensuring an inclusive and sustainable socio-economic recovery.
The Council tasked the High Representative and the Commission with putting forward a Joint Communication on co-operation in the Indo-Pacific by September 2021.
The conclusions were adopted by the Council by written procedure.
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