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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU Commission's vice-President Tajani to EuroFora : EU can become Autonomous in Space High Tech.

EU Commission's vice-President Tajani to EuroFora : EU can become Autonomous in Space High Tech.

Written by ACM
Monday, 18 January 2010

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*Strasbourg/- Europe is able to develop all High-Tech means guaranteing an "Autonomous Access to Space in the next 5 years", and can become "a Protagonist" on Space Technology, fex. with GALILEO's Sattelite Navigation System, replied to an "EuroFora" question EU Commission's vice-President in charge of Transports, Antonio Tajani, who is designated, in the Barroso II New Commission, to lead EU's "New Industrial Policy".


- "EuroFora" asked Tajani if, when he refered to "Space" as a "new area" of EU competence "after the entry into force of Lisbon Treaty", at an earlier Hearing by EU Parliament's Commission on Industry and Research, he believed, or not, that EU could and should ensure an "Autonomous Access to Space in 2010-2015".


Currently it's only USA and Russia, probably followed by China, who notoriously try to develop new re-usable vehicles both for Orbital and outer Space flights, starting by projects such as "Orion" and "Kliper", etc. respectively. But ESA's latest proposals to cooperate on building a Space Vehicle, either faced a refusal (USA), or were droped because of internal disagreements, as fex. after a December 2005 ESA session in Berlin, when, reportedly, the lack of only one (1 !) vote, cancelled a Russian offer..


- "In my view, Yes.. I think that we (EU) are pretty able to make it", clearly replied Tajani to "EuroFora"'s question.


- Considering also that "Europe must have its own Space Policy, according to Lisbon Treaty", he added. "We (EU) are already working with GMES ("Global Monitoring for Enironment and Security") and GALILEO (EU's Satellite Navigation System, equivalent to USA's GPS and Russia's Glonass, etc), We have already EGNOS, which works well", and "on 2014 we shall see also GALILEO working".


-"That's why, I think that Europe will be a Protagonist" on Space Tech., particularly "if we'll (EU) have the Political Will to support this great project : I think that GALILEO is a pretty great Challenge, that Europe must win. I am committed to succeed on that", Tajani promissed.

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Significantly, EU Commission's vice-President made these statements in Strasbourg, located near Stuttgart, whose Stockmarket hosts the German "Family" SME which won recently the competition for the EU procurement to fabricate 24 GALILEO Satellites. Strasbourg also hosts a World-famous Seismologic Laboratory at its "Globe Institute", which was recently cited by Reuters even for the analysis of the Earthquake which stroke ... Haiti, at the other side of the Earth, in the Gulf of Mexico (!), as well as an "International Space University", a performant Earth Observation Center for Maps made by Satelites (CERTIT), etc., while being also close to the EU "Space Operation Center" at nearby Darmstadt (between Frankfurt and Strasbourg), the European Austronaut Center (at Mainz), Germany's biggest Atmospheric Dynamics' Research Labo, etc. An even longer list of interesting Space-related EU assets, that the "European Science Foundation" (HQ in Strasbourg) has already tried to synthetise all together as "Earth Sciences", and that French Senator Philippe Richert recently anounced his intention to support as "Pole of Excellence" for "Eco-Technologies"     
 
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    "2014 will be a key year for GALILEO", because "we (EU) shall start to see Practical Benefits" from it.  But, as far as GMES is concerned, it has already started to be used in Crisis situations, f.ex. after the recent Earthquake at Haiti, where it helped dispatch aid on the ground, he anounced earlier.


    He was replying  to a British MEP concerned if what she called "alarming Costs" for GMES and GALILEO might "delay" them further ("550 Millions € per Year", and "74 Millions €", as she said),  the EU Commissioner did "not exclude" to ask EU Parliament to act "if there is a need for further funds", since, eventually, there might be "extra costs of about + 16% in average".


    But, "for the moment", on GMES, "we are IN the Budget", he observed. Moreover, the realisation of such Space programmes could generate ..."Savings of 90 Millions €", Tajani observed.

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    Curiously,  some British worries about comparatively small overcosts on Space High Tech projects, did not extend also on the controversial old A400M military transport Airplane project, deprived of any important novelty, but requiring ...more than  5 Billion € as overcostrs, in addition to the 22 Billions € already wasted there, (and which could become available for   other, much more interesting EU projects, as in Space Tech., "Airplane of the Future", etc,  if the controversial A400M was droped, as various people suggest)...Meanwhile, however, GMES' Satelite Earth Observation's mecanism succeeded to help Rescue operations after Haiti's tragic earthquake, while A400M would never be of any help there, because it's unable to fly so far..


    "Galileo is a Global project, and not only European", observed Tajani in another reply to the same MEP's questions about China's moves and Galileo Satellites' "safety". That's why  EU Commission's President, Barroso himself recently 'wrote to  the Chinese President, in order to find a way to  "harmonize the EU and the Chinese systems", for a future use of both infrastructures, so that Galileo will be able to pick up Signals compatible to both systems, so that it won't damage any of them, but work with both. For a similar aim, "Barroso wrote also to Russia", Tajani revealed.


    In general, there is, today, "a Political Need for a New Industrial Policy" for Europe, based on "Innovation", "Green" Growth, and open to SMEs,, Tajani stressed earlier, speaking with MEPs.


    On the Topical point of "Carbon Tax" extended at EU's external Borders, his statements were welcomed by several MEPs, including French MEP Rachida Dati, traditionally close to President Sarkozy, because, unlike other Commissioners, he appeared open to "Anti-Dumping" measures, if EU has to face "Unfair Competition" by "Social and/or Environmental Dumping"  from 3rd Countries, (fex. China or Turkey, etc), who produce "cheaper" just because they don't respect neither Workers' elementary Rights, nor the Environment.


    -  The idea of a "CO2 tax .. is an Hypothesis to consider, actually laid down in the ITC Legislation", but "it's better to wait until (UNO's) Copenhagen Summit's process is completed, (i.e. by collecting the Commitments of each Country, on January 2010, and by advancing towards a Binding Treaty : See "EuroFora"'s NewsReports from Copenhagen, 12/2009), assess the situation, and take EU decisions on the basis of informations given by the UN also on other Countries' stance, Tajani advised.

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    Indeed, Copenhagen was "a 1st step", insufficient but useful, achieved by Europe in the Global World, since it incited USA, China, and other Countries to undertake commitments to fight against Climate change for the 1st time, the EU Commission's vice-President observed.


    Meanwhile, the "Green Economy" is a New Market growing more than +5% per year  : It's not only about Environment, but also an Economic choice, and has already become a huge Economic opportunity, Tajani stressed.


    But, while placin "Innovation" as "1st Priority", Tajani was also careful to address the issues of immediate concern to EU Citizens :


    - Markets are not only about Economy, but also about Human Health, Environment, Jobs and other Social issues, etc., he said, reiterating his promisses (See relevant "EuroFora"'s 12/2009 Publication) to systematically "consult" all People involved before taking important decisions, to update and "revise" EU Regulations on Dangerous Substances (as "Reach", etc), to defend the "Memory of Sacrifices done by our Fathers" who created the first factories, by protecting "Europe's Industrial Heritage",  to support "Solidarity" as a European value, and to "tell the Truth" to workers, whenever they have to face hard "industrial restructuring" provoked by the "Global Crisis".


    In particular, Tajani, who is also in charge of "Enterpreneurship", stressed the importance of "SMEs", both as "Start-ups" for Technologic Innovations, and as "Micro-Enterprises" helping Workers who became "redudant" in some old big Industries, to find an immediate way to re-integrate the Labour market and gain a living.


    Therefore, Tajani anounced his intention to push for an adequate implementation of EU's "Small Business Act", and mainly struggle to guarantee "SME's Access to Loans", as well as to "Public Procurements", etc., by slashing "Bureaucracy" and convincing Banks : It's unacceptable, f.ex., for EU's Investment Bank to keep some 30 Million € unused, while they should had been distrubuted to SME's, he criticized, agreeing with MEPs' remarks, and promissing to "go to Luxembourg" to try to unblock the situation at the EIB, but also to generalise almost everywhere the Simplification facilitating SME's access to EU and National Public Funds and/or Procurements, as he has earlier done, as Transports' EU Commissioner, on the "Marco Polo" programme for intermodal transports.¨

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    Often SME's are hindered to benefit from States' procurements at all levels, simply because "they don't know" what, when and how to act in cumbersome Bureaucratic procedures, unlike to "Big" Companies, Tajani critically observed : A timely remark which  could apply even to Financial incentives and support given fex. by the French State to new On-line Media, which were practicaly usurpated by some old apparathiks coming from traditional big Media without any really new idea, simply because they were informed before others when exactly the legislation was completed, while, on the contrary, really innovative On-line Media projects of quality, lost "tight" Time Deadlines merely because they were not timely warned...


    But, at any case, Europe should face Global Competition and threats of outsourcing industrial production, by promoting "Quality", and not necessarily by "Quantity", he argued, pleading f.ex. for "New Cars of the Future", and other Innovative products, while also supporting the view that even the oldest industry in the world : that of Textile, "can become a key in the Future"; a,d "Modern", particularly if it creates innovations with High Tech, (as  a recent Exhibition at EU Parliament has shown in Strasbourg, pointing at concrete realisations, fex. by fabricating clothes for Austronauts and/or other textiles used in various Air-Space or Defence activities, during special Industrial processes, etc, extending even to innovatie "Nanomaterials"). ..

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Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, speaking  to "EuroFora", denied rumors on Turkey's attempts to avoid an EU check of its obligations on Cyprus on December 2009 by blackmailing Nicosia to either accept any deal with intransigeant Turkish claims contrary to EU values on the island's political issue, or face threats against the territorial integriy of the EU island, semi-occupied by Ankara's army.

On the contrary, the incoming EU President-in-office, speaking exclusively to "EuroFora", promissed that he will act for EU Council's decisions on December 2009 assessment of Turkey's commitments on Cyprus to be kept.


    Bildt was asked to react to Cyprus' President Christofias' denunciation, earlier this week, that some want to exert "pressure" on Cyprus in order for Turkey to escape from its obligations.

    Avoiding to mention any precise Deadline, Bildt, however, warned about "Consequences" in case of "failure" to reunite Cyprus, but without saying whose responsibility an eventual deadlock might be.  

 Asked by "EuroFora" if there is a risk for "Turkey's commitments to "be forgotten or downgraded", "despite crystal-clear EU Council decisions and EU Parliament's latest Resolution on the assessment to make at the end of this year on Turkey's obligations", according to rumours that, instead of pressing Turkey, on the contrary, there might be "pressure on Cyprus", even "blackmail", as Media reported and President Christofias denounced this week, Bildt denied :

- "No ! ", he clearly replied.


- On the contrary, invited by "EuroFora", to "reassure that the Swedish EU Presidency (7-12/2009) will keep a fair stance, based on principles",  Bildt promised that "we (Swedish EU Presidency) will be very clear on all of the decisions taken by the (EU) Council".

He added, however, that "we have very numerous decisions that have been taken" by EU Council, as if he warned, also, on something else.

- "'I am not aware of any sort of statements coming out today''", Bildt started to say, on our reference to Cyprus' President Christofias" denunciation of Turkish lobby's manoeuvers this week, replying earlier to 'another"EuroFora"'s question during a Press Conference at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.


 - '"I know the issues that you' are concerned with'", he added, remembering  the statements he gave us when Sweden was chairing the PanEuropean CoE on 2008.

- "But, obviously, .. I think that Cyprus' Peace negotiations are extremenly important".

- And "'I think that we are at a unique moment in History, in the sens that both (Cyprus') President Christofias and Mr. Talat (the Turkish Cypriot leader), are personally convinced of the need to overcome the division".

 - "It's 20 Years since the fall of Berlin Wal, but we still have a Capital in Europe (Nicosia) that's divided". ,

- 'I don't that we should loose any time in overcoming that"..

 - ''We should be aware of the fact that success will bring great benefits, but failure, will also have major consequences. There will not be Status Quo' " It's a question of seeking a solution, or entering another situation, which is somewhat difficult to see exactly how that could evolve", he warned.

- "That being said, this is a negotiation for Cyprus itself", Bildt admitted.

 - ''We (EU) can support, the (EU) Commission primarily, be technically helpful, and then, of course, there is a specific role for the UN, when it comes to the Cyprus' situation".  

- "At least so far. It might not be for ever'. Certainly not for ever, but for this period of time", Bildt added, skiping now any reference to concrete threats on UNO's Peace keeping force in face of more than 40.000 Ankara's soldiers, contrary to some Press claims, (See previous NewsReports).


     Replying to another "EuroFora"'s Question,  if anyone might attempt to "impose a Deadline for the conclusion" of Cyprus' Talks on December 2009, Bildt avoided to speak of any precise Time-frame, and indirectly evoked the fact that  35 Years of Turkish Invasion/Occupation obviously durated too long :

'- "If I was from Cyprus, I would say that the Deadline was Yesterday ! '",
Bildt concluded.

Cyprus' Government Spokesman, Stephanou, reportedly pointed out that "a settlement is possible on December if Turkey changes its stance", accepting a solution for the reunification of the island based on UNO resolutiona and EU principles.

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Earlier, EU Chair, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeld, highlighted an "historic opportunity" to "re-Unite" Cyprus according to EU's "basic Values"' (i.e. Human Rights) and 'Rules'", in a last-minute change of his draft speech to EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    The initial Draft spoke only about "healing" the island.

    Significantly, Reinfeldt linked Cyprus' reunification with Turkey's obligations to respect EU's "Values" and "follow" EU's "common Rules" :

    - What is "called Membership Negotiations" should lead, "at- the end of the day", into "sharing a set of common Basic Values (i.e. Human Rights, Democracy, etc), and following common Rules", stressed Reinfeld from the outset.
    
    - "This is something that those on the Outside (of the EU), are now  contemplating", up "to Ankara", for "a solution" on "Cyprus", observed the EU Chairman, immediately afterwards..  

    - "Both sides of Cyprus have been granted a historic opportunity to together reach an agreement on a solution to re-Unite the island, that has been divided for far too long", said Reinfeldt, modifying his draft text.


-  "The Swedish Presidency will act ...in accordance with Commitments EU has made, on the basis of Criteria that apply", "as a Honest Broker", he promised.    

- "To those on the inside (of the EU), allowing the membership process to become an opportunity to solve protracted disputes, can be tempting", he added.


    "In such cases, we must find solutions that can benefit both sides, and open up a way forward. Otherwise, it would jeopardize the progress we have made towards EU integration", Reinfeldt said.

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