In the short-term, the telecommunications space gap must be addressed. The EU needs autonomous access to satellite communications.
The 'GOVSATCOM' initiative should be developed on the basis of beneficiaries' needs and requirements. This should entail a cost-benefit evaluation of different solutions.
GOVSATCOM could be based on rented commercial services, rely on current capabilities with the possibility of integrating new features later on, or a European-owned system.
Space policy should be geared towards the imperative for integrated services and a common approach to protection and security. It should be in sync with other EU policies - internal security, transport, energy, research - in order to benefit both EU citizens and industry.
Coordination must also be enhanced between nationally deployed space systems, in order to promptly anticipate the disruption of different applications.
Therefore, the Commission should review system architectures, as well as draw up and promote a governance model for each system. EU space capacities should be managed by a specific operational service coordination centre, to ensure proper coordination.
Conceiving, developing, launching, operating and exploiting space systems will take some time, therefore achieving a good result will depend on a swift start.
This year is very important for the future of space industry. The security and defence Council will meet in June, the Commission is set to present its space strategy, and the multiannual financial framework is due for a review.
In my opinion, taking a European approach is the best solution. This will provide a level playing field for services and security across the EU, it is cost-effective, and it will help us better take on future challenges.