|Galileo Update|| |
Parliament votes to boost funding for EIT and Galileo
The European Parliament has voted to boost funding for the European Institute of Technology (EIT) and Galileo, the European satellite navigation system, at its first reading vote on the draft budget for 2008. The MEPs voted to reverse over €1.5 billion of cuts made by the Council to payments under the headings 1a (competitiveness, growth, employment) and 1b (cohesion). In particular, the Parliament is keen to boost funding for Galileo and the EIT, and therefore voted to set aside an additional €739 million for the financing of these two projects. The Parliament supports the Commission’s proposal to revise the financial perspectives to ensure both Galileo and the EIT receive adequate funding over the 2007 to 2013 period.
Merkel promises opposition on Galileo sat-nav
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she would keep up opposition to the way the European Union is managing proposals for the Galileo satellite-navigation system. Speaking at a Berlin conference on transport, the chancellor said Berlin would “cheerfully” stand up for German national interests on the issue. Berlin has criticized EU proposals to finance an investment budget shortfall of 2.4 billion euros (3.4 billion dollars) for the global-positioning system mainly from its own budget. Merkel said that since Germany was “a major financial contributor” it had to have preference when contracts were awarded. The EU has suggested open tendering for the contracts.
MPs demand analysis of Galileo’s benefits
The House of Commons Transport Committee has questioned transport minister Rosie Winterton over the value of the 26-satellite programme that will provide Europe with navigation services independent of the US-owned GPS system. So far only four orbits have been designed and developed and the cost to the EU has hit £1.1bn, way above initial estimates of £750m. The UK is set to contribute 17 per cent of the total cost, which is estimated to reach £5.5bn over two decades. The UK contribution is equivalent to major domestic transport schemes, said committee chairman Gwyneth Dunwoody. “Galileo has given us considerable concern,” she said. “How far are we prepared to go before we say Galileo is not having any more money?” The government is continuing cautious support for the scheme because it offers greater resilience for commercial uses and the possibility of a broader range of applications.
EU still deadlocked over funds for Galileo
The European Union failed again to break a deadlock over how to fund the ambitious but troubled Galileo satellite network. “It’s too early to talk about a consensus on financing,” said Portuguese Finance Minister Fernando Teixeira Dos Santos, whose country holds the EU’s rotating presidency, after a meeting of finance ministers in Luxembourg. EU transport ministers were unable to overcome the impasse a week ago.