Will GALILEO happen?
DR GUENTER HEINRICHS, MIGUEL ROMAY MERINO, JIM DOHERTY, F MICHAEL SWIEK, RONALD R HATCH
ACCORDING to a recent Eurobarometer opinion survey, Europeans are highly positive about the GALILEO program, which aims to develop Europe’s own satellite-based navigation system. The survey indicates that most of EU citizens are aware of the role global positioning systems play in their everyday lives, know about possible applications and are firmly behind the development of such new technologies.
Furthermore, an overwhelming majority consider that Europe should set up an independent navigation system even if this involves securing additional public funds.
“Europeans recognise that GALILEO could have a big impact on their life in the future and they expect greater effort at European level to develop this technology”, said European commission Vice-President, Jacques Barrot, in charge of Transport. “Therefore, we will continue the work with Member States and industry to complete this major European innovation project and get the most out of our investments.”
The Eurobarometer survey questioned around 26 000 citizens all over the European Union on a range of issues linked to GALILEO, and satellite positioning systems in general. The survey has revealed valuable information about EU citizen’s knowledge, attitudes and perceptions related to this new technology. The responses clearly show that most Europeans are highly positive about this major European project. The principal conclusions are as follows:
The survey indicates that the majority of Europeans (68%) are familiar with the concept of satellite-based navigation – with 20% currently using such a system and 15% planning to use one in the future. An overwhelming majority – 80% of respondents – consider that the European Union should set up its own independent system, while only 12% think that there is no need for such a development. 40% have already heard about the European GALILEO project. This ratio reaches 60% in Germany and Luxembourg.
In each Member State, the majority of respondents support the idea of having the EU secure the missing funds. Overall, 63% of respondents consider that the EU should secure the necessary funds to complete the GALILEO project as soon as possible and only 23% are opposed to increase investments. A slight majority also agrees that the abandonment or significant delay of the GALILEO project would harm the image of the European Union (44% consider it harmful while 41% not).
Last but not least, the survey reveals that 71% of European citizens “rather agree” that the EU launches globally important technology projects, even if they require high investments, and only 18% “rather disagree” with EU involvement in such resource-intensive projects.