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EU Policy. Key Commission space law proposal expected in weeks

Artist's impression of ESA's Hera asteroid mission for planetary defence
Artist's impression of ESA's Hera asteroid mission for planetary defence Copyright ESA-P. Carril
Copyright ESA-P. Carril
By Paula Soler
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First awaited in April, the so-called 'EU space law', one of Commission president Ursula von der Leyen's priorities for 2024, will be proposed "in the coming weeks", a senior EU official told reporters during a space ministerial meeting on Thursday (23 May).


The proposal aims to create the first common rules for member states to ensure Europe's role as an enabler of space services, protect EU infrastructure against security threats and ensure safe satellite traffic to avoid increasing the risk of collisions.

Member states have urged the Commission to adopt it swiftly, given the current geopolitical context and the fact that 11 EU countries, including Belgium, France and Germany, already have space legislation at national level.

“We believe that there is clearly a momentum to reduce the heterogeneity of legal frameworks in the EU in order to create a European single market for space,” Thomas Dermine, Belgium's state secretary for recovery and strategic investment told a press conference.

But when asked for a concrete timeline for the proposal, the European Commission's director-general for space, Timo Pesonen, noted that the institution is working "intensively" to have it ready in the coming weeks.

Pesonen did not rule out the possibility of publishing it before the start of a new mandate, arguing that the EU executive has powers until the last day of the legislature, so the decision on when to table the proposal will depend on the current or next European Commission president.

Earlier in April, Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton told MEPs that the EU executive would need more time to prepare the proposal because of the election campaign, scheduled for 6-9 June.

Europe must increase investment in space

Member states also discussed competitiveness in the space sector, looking at the challenges and opportunities for Europe to secure a position in the new era of the space economy, where countries such as the US and China are leading the way.

“We have an issue. Access to money in Europe is much more difficult than in the US, for example,” European Space Agency (ESA) head Josef Aschbacher told a small group of journalists, including Euronews, on Thursday.

Aschbacher stressed his concern about not attracting funding at the same speed and scale as other global players, noting that both commercialisation and attracting capital are his top priorities for 2025.

The senior Commission official echoed the same sentiments: "We need a lot more investments in our space industry. We are still dependent on non-EU supply chains, including, for example, a temporary lack of autonomous access to space."

Since last year, Europe's access to space has relied on the services of SpaceX, a project of US billionaire Elon Musk, following repeated delays of the European launcher Ariane 6 since 2020.

At Thursday's meeting, member states agreed to call for a stronger development of Europe's space industry by increasing both public and private investment through public procurement and a good risk management framework.

"Europe has a limited capacity to rapidly upscale production when needed, and limited access to global space markets," Pesonen argued.

The ESA's director general believes the bloc's model needs a transformation that ensures speed and access to money - and relies on good ideas and talent.

“We have the last one, but the other two, we are ready to work on,” Aschbacher said.

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