The motto of the meeting was -Accelerating the use of space in Europe-, as presented by ESA-s Director General Josef Aschbacher. It underlines the initiatives introduced to achieve the Agency’s ambitions, which are to increase Europe’s autonomy in space, to strengthen ESA-s leadership role in particular in science and technology in all domains, and to act responsibly and develop solutions to mitigate climate change. In her speech, State Secretary Martina Hirayama recalled Switzerland’s longstanding and reliable contributions to space programmes in Europe and the country’s willingness to support ESA’s ambitions by promoting innovation in areas such as launchers, secure and commercial communication, space security and navigation. At the end of the negotiations, the ESA member states jointly agreed to invest almost 17 billion EUR over the next few years.
This Council Meeting at Ministerial Level successfully marked the end of the Franco-Portuguese co-presidency of ESA. In response to a proposal by Switzerland, and unanimously supported by the ESA Council, Germany assumed the presidency of the Council at Ministerial Level for the years 2023 to 2025.
Success for ESA and SwitzerlandThe body of resolutions adopted by the Ministers support ESA-s goal to have a European space sector for the benefit of all its member states, borne by a strengthened and autonomous organisation. Earth observation, space science, navigation, space transportation and telecommunications programmes are the pillars of ESA’s expertise. They contribute to the sectoral policies of the member states and provide access to crucial data and services. Switzerland benefits from the contributions made to the programmes at ministerial meetings in the form of contracts for scientific projects and industry. It is important to pursue and seize the opportunities for Swiss leadership in the various programmes.
At this meeting, Switzerland expressed its support for programmes ranging from Earth observation to new technologies, telecommunication, exploration and launchers. The member states are thus now able to move forward with the establishment of the joint European Space Deep-Tech Innovation Centre (ESDI) in Switzerland and the development, under Swiss leadership, of the HummingSat platform for small geostationary telecommunications satellites based on 3D printing technologies. Furthermore, Switzerland can continue to develop its expertise thanks to its involvement in the field of space transportation, in particular Ariane 6, and of space security, in the ADRIOS and Clearspace-1 projects. ESA will be able to pursue its activities in all aspects of space sustainability, in particular related to space debris.