On 12 October 2020, the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), held an exchange of views with Rodrigo da Costa, Executive Director-elect of the European GNSS Agency (GSA) on the role of the GSA and his vision for the future of the Agency.

European Parliament in Brussels

“I understand well the deep commitment of the European Union to Space.” With these words Mr da Costa began his speech to the European Parliament as GSA Executive Director-elect, highlighting the importance of EU Space investments and the services, activities and opportunities these offer. EU Space contributes to the Union’s sovereignty and autonomy while strengthening its role as a global actor. It boosts the economy and is key to addressing current and emerging societal challenges, ranging from climate change to cybersecurity.

The European GNSS Agency is currently responsible for managing the operations, security and service provision of Galileo and EGNOS, the two EU satellite navigation systems. In January 2021, the EU Space Programme is planned to turn a new page with the launch of the European Union Space Programme Agency (EUSPA). EUSPA, the successor of the GSA, will be entrusted with a set of additional responsibilities: enhanced tasks on Galileo and EGNOS, the promotion and development of the downstream markets of Copernicus, activities for GOVSATCOM (the EU governmental satellite communication system) and new security accreditation activities. 

‘’I am committed to ensuring that EUSPA becomes a user-driven operational agency for the implementation of the EU Space Programme, contributing to the economic growth, innovation, safety and security of the Union’’ da Costa said.

Expanding on his vision for the future EUSPA, da Costa explained that for an effective and efficient implementation of the EU Space Regulation, EUSPA’s mission should be focused on four points:

  • A state-of-the-art, reliable, secure and performing service provision: EUSPA should manage the services efficiently, by relying on a competitive upstream industry and allowing input from new and emerging actors, and ensuring the highest involvement of all Member States. 
  • A user and market-orientated EU Agency aimed at increasing the use of space services across a wide range of market segments and increasing the competitiveness of the EU downstream industry including innovators, SMEs and start-ups. To achieve this, EUSPA will listen to user needs when developing, upgrading, and providing services.
  • A global reference for space excellence and know-how: EUSPA shall become the global reference for market development, service provision, security and operations and shall make the best usage of the available competencies in the GNSS industry and the related institutional actors such as the European Commission, Member States, the European Space Agency or other relevant organisations. 
  • A key contributor to the EU priorities: EUSPA shall contribute to the achievement of the priorities of the Union, increasing the resilience of our economy, contributing to the transition to a green and digital Europe, and enhancing the safety and security of our citizens. 

Da Costa concluded in his opening remarks: ‘’You can count on me to bring all my energy and determination to the leadership of the Agency. You can trust me to build up an Agency that enables a thriving downstream economy in all Member States. You can also be sure about my commitment to build a EUSPA in line with the priorities of the Union.’’ The new EUSPA mission provides for the first time the opportunity to create an integrated EU Space Programme, enabling the development of synergies between navigation (with EGNOS and Galileo), Earth observation (with Copernicus) and telecommunications (with GOVSATCOM). 

Da Costa ended his talk highlighting the importance of the link between the Agency and the European Parliament and its ITRE Committee and his willingness to foster further the cooperation including through regular exchanges on the concrete achievements of the EUSPA. 

You can see the full video here.

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