Europe’s Transport Ministers, Parliamentary Committee Okay New Galileo Deal

The European Transport Council and the European Parliament’s industry committee have approved new institutional arrangements for the €3.4-billion Galileo program that help pave the way for the European Space Agency to start a tender for contracts.

The regulation would also continue operation of the European GNSS Supervisory Authority (GSA) while setting up a new Galileo Inter-Institutional Panel (GIP), with three members each from the parliament and the transport council and one from the European Commission (EC).

The European Transport Council and the European Parliament’s industry committee have approved new institutional arrangements for the €3.4-billion Galileo program that help pave the way for the European Space Agency to start a tender for contracts.

The regulation would also continue operation of the European GNSS Supervisory Authority (GSA) while setting up a new Galileo Inter-Institutional Panel (GIP), with three members each from the parliament and the transport council and one from the European Commission (EC).

The full parliament will debate the issue on Tuesday, April 22, with a final vote scheduled the following day (April 23), when it is expected to gain final approval by the whole legislative body.

Originally designed to be the licensing authority for private undertakings within the public-private partnership first planned, the GSA will now instead monitor the implementation of security procedures and perform system security audits. The GSA’s tasks will also include the preparation of the commercialization of the systems, including market analysis.

April 8, the GSA announced the release of a new (second) version of the Galileo Open Service Signal-In-Space Interface Control Document, available on its website <www.gsa.europa.eu>.

The GIP will meet four times a year to decide on Galileo’s annual program, international relations, governance, and attribution of contracts. It will also monitor progress on the overall implementation of the project.

Previously reported measures (March/April 2008 issue, Inside GNSS) to ensure fair competition and dual sourcing of key components were also included in the regulation.

The amended regulation asks the EC to lay down the main technical requirements for controlling access to the technologies that provide security to Galileo and EGNOS. Member states should adopt national security regulations that guarantee at least the same level of protection for EU classified information on the two programmes as is required for the industrial security of EURATOM, says the new text.

If the operation of the systems should pose a risk to the security of the EU or the Member States, joint action should be taken under the Common Foreign and Security Policy.