State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation Martina Hirayama took part in the tenth meeting of the EU/ESA Space Council, which was held via video conference on 20 November 2020. The Council has adopted a joint resolution on key principles for the global space economy that will apply Europe-wide, and in its meeting underlined the importance of coordinated action between the European Space Agency (ESA), the EU, and the individual member states.
With its highly competitive space industry and supply chain, Europe has contributed significantly to the growth of the global space economy. The members of the Space Council have adopted a resolution entitled "Orientations on the European contribution in establishing key principles for the global space economy" in which they agree to work towards creating a more level playing field and opening their economies (including free and fair trade) on the basis of multilateral solutions and reciprocity. The resolution emphasises the necessity of maintaining secure, autonomous, reliable, cost-effective and affordable access to space. For a strong European space policy, it is crucial ESA, the EU, and their member states coordinate their actions and consider shared competencies, tasks and responsibilities, while at the same time remaining respectful of existing institutional and operational frameworks. The management of space traffic and cyber security are two areas that require this kind of coordinated approach that involves all actors.
This Space Council meeting was an opportunity for State Secretary Martina Hirayama to reiterate the space industry’s fundamental importance to a properly functioning modern society. Promoting innovation and favourable framework conditions for small and medium-sized enterprises as well as medium capitalisation companies is crucial. It is primarily through long-term and reliable contributions from all states to Europe’s space programmes that we can ensure the resilience and continued success of our space efforts. The same applies to Europe’s access to space, which relies on the expertise of ESA and to which Switzerland also contributes.
The Space Council was first established in 2004 with a framework agreement between ESA and the EU. Its main objective is to facilitate open exchanges and debates on European cooperation in the space sector, and to thereby establish a cohesive policy and contribute to Europe’s strong and globally competitive presence in space. This year’s Space Council meeting was the tenth of its kind. It was held under the ESA Council co-presidency of France and Portugal, and with Germany currently holding the presidency of the EU Council.
As a founding member of ESA and having participated in a number of EU programmes, Switzerland considers itself a member of the European space family. Switzerland contributes to Europe’s space endeavours and is competitive on a global level in this field.