On 10 June 2020, Flemish Member of the European Parliament Filip De Man of the Identity and Democracy Group, tabled a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“The Commission has put forward plans to cut the ESA’s budget by EUR 1.2 billion. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, himself proposed reducing its budget by up to EUR 3.3 billion.
The ESA is indispensable for many civil and military applications such as space observations, monitoring, meteorology, climate change, telecommunications, business projects, navigation, innovation and research.
1. Is the Commission aware that ESA budget cuts in the amount proposed risk making us even more technologically dependent on other super powers in the ESA’s areas of activity?
2. Will the savings shift the focus of ESA, in other words: Will certain projects be stopped or suspended, and if so, which ones?”
On 8 January 2021, Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, responded on behalf of the European Commission reporting:
“On 6 June 2018, the Commission presented the new EU Space Programmefor the period 2021-2027. It aims to ensure investment continuity in EU space activities, encourage scientific and technical progress and support the competitiveness and innovation capacity of the European space ecosystem.
The Commission welcomes the agreement on 10 November 2020 between the European Parliament and the EU Member States in the Council on the Multiannual Financial Framework Regulation, which foresees the most ambitious EU space budget ever, with around EUR 15 billion in current prices for 2021-2027. In constant prices, this represents an increase of 16% compared to 2014-2020.
The realities of the COVID-19 crisis have heightened the need for Europe to make access to space easier and cheaper. Although the Union’s space industry is one of the most competitive in the world, the emergence of new players and new technologies requires industry to become even more competitive to contribute towards the strategic autonomy of the EU.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is an international organisation, not an EU body nor subject to EC law, although it is one of bodies implementing the EU Space Programme. ESA has its own budget, stemming from its own member states to run its own projects on space, on which the Union has no say.”
Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/illustrations/space-orbital-orbit-orbiting-1970121/