LOST IN SPACE: THE EU’S SATNAV SYSTEM
SPACED OUT: EU TRIES TO BAN UK FROM SATNAV PROGRAMME
In recent days, the EU’s satellite navigation project called Galileo has come into public focus, with various mentions including by the Prime Minister. Yesterday the CEO of Airbus weighed in, saying that the UK must not be excluded from the Galileo programme and that matters of national security were at stake.
This has arisen because of the EU Commission telling the UK in January that it will be frozen out of the programme, causing outrage in the UK’s healthy space sector.
The Commission appears to take no account of the fact that the UK has contributed over 12% of the total costs of the programme so far, and has provided a substantial amount of the design and technical expertise.
In the coming series of articles we will tell you something about Galileo, the EU’s rival system to the USA’s GPS system which we all use today.
We will show you how this project is massively late and massively over-budget. We will also use this as a classic example of the incompetence of the EU in managing anything at all.
One thing the EU has been very good at, however, is spending huge amounts of British taxpayers’ money. And on that score the EU’s SatNav project has been very efficient.
Next article: Part 2 – Space – another frontier too far for Mrs May[Sources: EU Commission | EU Legal Docs | European Space Agency | Dozens of other official sources as well as information from scientists working on the project] 07.10am, 30 Mar 2018
Name: Sydney Ashurst, UK Date/Time: 30 Mar 2018, 09.15am
Message: Galileo, an example of cooperating with the EU and then finding you have been taken over, lock stock and barrel. In Civil Aviation the UK cooperated generously in creating the European Aviation Safety Agency, since taken over by the Brussels Commission. We will be prevented from being a full member when we leave the EU.
LOST IN SPACE: THE EU’S SATNAV SYSTEM
SPACE: ANOTHER FRONTIER TOO FAR FOR MRS MAY
THE POLITICS OF SPACE
On Monday Mrs May told the Commons:
“The UK does have a world-leading space sector and that has contributed a significant amount of specialist expertise to the Galileo programme. So we believe it is not just a question of what is in the UK’s interests for us to continue to be able to participate as we have done in that programme. We think it’s actually in the interests of the European Union as well because of the expertise the United Kingdom can provide.”
The UK government Business Secretary Greg Clark added:
“The UK has a world-leading space sector that has contributed a significant amount of specialist expertise to the Galileo programme. The Government has been clear that we want a critical role in this important project, which will help strengthen European security to continue as we develop our deep and special partnership with the EU. This can only happen with complete UK involvement in all aspects of Galileo, including the key secure elements which the UK has unique specialisms in and have helped to design and implement.”
THIS STARTED MONTHS AGO… BUT YOU WEREN’T TOLD
Back in January the EU Commission wrote to the UK government about sharing Galileo information:
“If the Commission shared this information with the UK (which will become a third country) it would irretrievably compromise the integrity of certain elements of these systems for many years after the withdrawal of the UK.”
On 24 January 2018, the EU Commission announced:
“Today the Commission adopted a decision to transfer the back-up site of the Galileo Security Monitoring Centre from the United Kingdom to Spain. The Galileo Security Monitoring Centre (GSMC) is a technical infrastructure which plays a key role in ensuring the security of the EU’s satellite navigation programme, Galileo, including its Public Regulated Service (PRS). As a consequence of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, the GSMC’s back-up site needs to be relocated.”
The EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (space ‘expert’ Elżbieta Bieńkowska) announced:
“Europe’s satellite navigation system, Galileo, has already been delivering high quality services for over a year now.
“With today’s decision the Commission is taking the necessary operational steps to ensure business continuity and preserve the security of the Galileo system.”
Six countries were allowed to bid for the new location (not the UK of course) and the Commission chose Spain as the only candidate it put forward to the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) Programmes Committee. The committee duly endorsed the only candidate.
Despite the UK still being a full member of the EU, and despite it continuing to pay a large part of the EU’s costs, and despite having contributed billions to this space project in particular and continuing to fund it, the EU is moving the Galileo Security Monitoring Centre to Spain. The UK was not even asked to bid for the location. This is in flagrant breach of the treaties.
It is clear from our research that British companies are no longer welcome in consortia when the latter are putting together bids for new parts of the Galileo project, because the consortia fear it would put them at a disadvantage in trying to win those contracts.
The really bizarre thing in all of this is that the UK has a major part of the technical expertise that is still required. In denying itself this expertise, the EU will be left with technical gaps it will struggle to fill, and only its incompetent and bloated management structures will be relatively unaffected.
HOW TO NEGOTIATE 1.01
When this sorry episode started, the British government should have fired off a legal letter immediately, pointing out to the Commission that it was acting in breach of treaty obligations in denying a full member of the EU (viz, the United Kingdom) a role in an important EU project.
Regrettably, our dithering and weak Prime Minister does not do such things, preferring instead to hope that warm words will bring them round. She really has no idea how the EU elites’ minds work.
Can you imagine US President Trump standing for this? Or Viktor Orban of Hungary?
What is required, across the board, is far more gumption from the British side. If anyone in Whitehall and the rest of the Westminster bubble, has a backbone, it’s still not too late to start demonstrating it.
Next article: Part 3 – Astronomical costs, geologically slow, 47% complete. You do NOT want to miss the facts and figures![Sources: Hansard | EU Commission | And confidential sources] 07.20am, 30 Mar 2018