Tiefensee: Galileo is an important European project

Berlin, Germany – Commenting on the European Commission’s decision on the European Galileo satellite project, the EU Council President, Wolfgang Tiefensee, stated: "Galileo is currently the most important European high-technology project. It is indispensable for Europe. Because Europe must not leave this field of technology exclusively to the USA, Russia and China. Forecasts for 2020 predict investment totalling 20 to 30 billion euros for this market. Galileo could create an additional 150,000 jobs in Europe alone. And so Europe needs its own satellite navigation system. Moreover, this will make us independent of the existing systems, which are under military control.

However, Galileo is currently going through a serious crisis. The German Council Presidency realized at an early stage that Galileo was in difficulty, and at the March Council it brought about a unanimous decision to continue the system and consider options for action.

Viable proposals for a solution have since been tabled, which I intend to discuss with my European counterparts at the June Transport Council in Luxembourg, where I hope we will reach a stage where a decision can be taken.

The alternatives that the Commission has proposed amount to greater public sector involvement. For the Council Presidency, it is crucial that we select an approach which, on the basis of the investment already made and the agreements already concluded, reduces the financial burden on the public sector and avoids any further delay to the deployment of the system. The solution that costs the taxpayer least has to be found."