This article needs to be updated.(August 2012)
A formal European Space Policy was established on 22 May 2007 when a joint and concomitant meeting at ministerial level of the "Council of the European Union and the Council of the "European Space Agency adopted a Resolution on the European Space Policy. The policy had been jointly drafted by the "European Commission and the Director General of the European Space Agency.
Currently each "member state pursues their own national space policy, though often co-ordinating through the independent "European Space Agency (ESA). "Enterprise and Industry Commissioner "Günter Verheugen has stated that even though the EU is "a world leader in the technology, it is being put on the defensive by the "US and "Russia and that it only has about a 10 year technological advantage on "China and "India, which are racing to catch up."
A communication outlining the policy was released on 26 April 2007 which set out orientations for:
The policy expresses support for an operational and autonomous "Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) "satellite capability before the end of 2008, and for a "global navigation satellite system under European civil control, i.e. the "Galileo positioning system.
The European Union has already started work on a project to create the Galileo positioning system, to break dependence on the "United States "GPS system. This is in cooperation with ESA as well as other countries.
Copernicus is a European system for monitoring the Earth and consists of earth observation satellites and in situ sensors. The program provides services in the thematic areas land, marine, atmosphere, climate change, emergency management and security.
The policy emphasises the importance for Europe to maintain independent, reliable and cost-effective access to space through European "launch systems, without mentioning any specifically by name. The policy statement affirms support for the "EC-ESA Framework Agreement" and the resolution on the evolution of the European launcher sector adopted in 2005.
The policy reaffirms a continuing European commitment to the "International Space Station (ISS), and describes ESA participation in future international exploration programmes as being important.
The policy includes the goal of maintaining programmes that give Europe a leading role in selected areas of science. It also calls for development of technologies that allow European industry to avoid dependency on international suppliers.