Europe News: Galileo roadmap to be amended

Europe News: Galileo roadmap to be amended

The European Commission responded to a request from the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament, agreeing that the public-private partnership set up to implement Galileo needs to be re-profiled if Galileo is to be operational by the 2012 deadline.

Work on the European satellite radio navigation programs, Galileo and Egnos, has reached a crossroads, and a political choice now has to be made on how to implement them.

The lack of progress in the negotiations on the concession contract, which provided for the deployment and management of the infrastructure by the private sector, is posing a serious threat to the completion of the project.

The Council (Transport Ministers), which met on March 22nd, have asked the Commission to let it have a detailed report – before its next meeting in June – setting out the progress made in the negotiations with the consortium applying for the concession and alternative scenarios for the rapid deployment of the space infrastructure.

The Commission's conclusion is that the present roadmap, which provides for the involvement of the private sector at an early stage, will not enable the project to be completed within the desired timeframe, and that this is likely to lead to considerable extra costs for the private sector.

The Commission proposes adapting the roadmap to enable the timetable and costs to be monitored more closely and to give the satellite radio navigation applications and services industries a greater sense of security as to when Galileo signals will actually become available.

The Commission shows that the most beneficial, the most realistic and, in the long-term, the most economic option will be for all the initial infrastructure to be put in place while being piloted and financed by the public sector. In contrast, the operation of the system will be entrusted to a private concession holder.

The Commission calls on the EU Member States to take the necessary decisions in terms of policy, finance and programme management to enable the project to be completed as soon as possible and to meet the needs of satellite navigation market users.

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