Parliament wants the EU to reinforce its space-based defence capabilities
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Parliament wants the EU to reinforce its space-based defence capabilities

Against the backdrop of rising threats to EU space, civilian and military capabilities, MEPs call on the European Union to bolster the resilience of European space infrastructure.

In a report examining the EU’s recently adopted Space Strategy for Security and Defence, MEPs note that, in the past decade, “unfriendly behaviour” and threats to the EU’s space, civilian and military capabilities have grown, even as they are difficult to detect and attribute to a specific source. The strategy identifies space as a strategic domain and proposes an ambitious framework to protect the EU’s space assets, defend its interests, deter hostile activities in space, and strengthen the European Union’s strategic autonomy.

In light of these growing risks, the European Parliament calls on the EU to bolster the resilience and protection of European space infrastructure, supply chains, and services. MEPs welcome the EU’s proposal to draw up a classified annual space threat analysis document to make the EU and its member states collectively aware of the extent of current threats and how they can be addressed.

“Space plays an essential role in our societies. From the most trivial acts of our daily lives to the greatest global challenges, we are increasingly relying, sometimes unknowingly, on space-related infrastructures, technologies and services. Ensuring the safety of these systems is a major challenge. Space is a strategic domain and the recognition of this reality must lead to proactive European policies. Without autonomous European access to space, there can be no EU space policy worthy of the name. Unfortunately, we still suffer from an unacceptable level of dependence. It is vital that Europe and the European space industry rises to this challenge”, said rapporteur Arnaud Danjean (EPP, France).

Improve autonomous access to space, key investments needed

Focusing on five priority areas – protection and resilience of systems, response to threats, competitiveness and investment, governance and cooperation – MEPs want more investment in space surveillance and tracking detection capacities, meaning the capability of surveying and tracking space objects. They also want the EU to be better able to respond to space threats, including through the sharing of space domain awareness information, a toolbox for EU joint responses, and more training.

To address the EU’s lack of autonomous access to space, which endangers missions related to security and defence, Parliament calls on the European Commission to develop a comprehensive strategy for an EU launch policy as well as fostering the long-term production and competitiveness of European launchers.

MEPs also call on the EU to adopt a genuine industrial policy, and support investments in key space and cyber technologies, with the aim of reducing strategic dependence on third countries. This can be achieved, they say, through actions such as joint procurement of critical components and securing critical raw material supply chains.

Voicing support for multilateral solutions within the United Nations framework, Parliament stresses the importance for the EU ensuring its strategic autonomy and the automonous ability to address threats to its space assets. MEPs highlight the need to substantially increase resources allocated to space in the EU’s next long-term budget, including in support of the European Union Agency for the Space Programme, the European Union Satellite Centre and other EU agencies.

The report was approved on Thursday by 500 votes in favour, 43 against with 18 abstentions. It was originally prepared by MEPs on the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Security and Defence.