Europe's space agency braces for Brexit fallout
By Mariï¿½tte Le Roux
Paris (AFP) Jan 17, 2018
The European Space Agency (ESA) is drawing up contingency plans for projects, commercial deals, and staffing that may be adversely affected by Brexit, senior officials said Wednesday.
Programmes throw in flux by Britain's pending departure from the European Union (EU) include the Copernicus satellite constellation to monitor environmental damage, and the Galileo satellite navigation system.
"It is not an easy situation at all, I can tell you. We are going through the options," Josef Aschbacher, director of ESA's Earth observation activities, told journalists in Paris.
"What we have to do as ESA, we have to get ready for all these eventualities."
Britain's EU-linked participation in both programmes will come to an end after Brexit, unless it negotiates a specific deal, the ESA has said. When this would happen, is not clear.
But Britain will likely stay in the ESA, which is autonomous from the European Union.
The UK is one of 20 EU members of the agency, which also includes non-EU countries Norway and Switzerland.
The EU has forked out the bulk of Copernicus' budget of about seven billion euros ($8.5 billion) since 2002, though ESA also contributes.
So far, Europe has launched six satellites for Copernicus, which is designed to monitor Earth's atmosphere, forest cover changes, land and water pollution, and the aftermath of floods and earthquakes.
Copernicus will also improve emergency responses after natural disasters.
UK-based companies hold contracts worth tens of millions of euros from ESA to supply hardware for Copernicus and Galileo -- a rival to America's GPS which should be fully operational by 2020.
- What next? -
According to Philippe Michel of ESA's Galileo programme, Brexit has thrown up "several situations" for which solutions must be found.
These included "the issue of security" in a project that involves the sharing of military and other classified information between countries.
"There are situations of contracts which have already been placed, there are situations of procurements which are ongoing, or future procurements... We are discussing of course all that with the European Commission," Michel added.
ESA director general Jan Woerner insisted the agency was not "directly affected" by the British withdrawal, though "indirectly, we have some things where we are working on."
They include visas, medical insurance, retirement plans and other complications that will arise for British staff in Europe, and continental workers in the UK, once the rules change under Brexit.
"We are also looking in the discussion with the European Union, the European Commission, what happens with industrial activities coming from the UK," said Woerner.
ESA's EU policy office head Jean Bruston has previously said Britain could contribute to Galileo and Copernicus if it negotiated a third-party agreement with the EU, as Norway and Switzerland have done.
Noordwijk, Netherlands (SPX) Dec 14, 2017
ESA's Science Programme Committee (SPC) has approved indicative extensions, up to 2019-2020, for the operation of eight scientific missions. During its meeting at ESA Headquarters in Paris, on 21-22 November, the SPC approved indicative extensions for the continued operation of five ESA-led missions: Gaia, INTEGRAL, Mars Express, SOHO, and XMM-Newton. This followed a comprehensive review o ... read more
The latest information about the Commercial Satellite Industry
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.