Azara Blog: Gwyneth Dunwoody does not like Galileo

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Date published: 2007/11/12

The BBC says:

The UK "must do everything in its power" to stop the EU's Galileo sat-nav system going ahead until concerns over funding have been resolved, say MPs.

The Transport Select Committee warned that the EU was "sleep walking" into the multi-billion pound project, which would be paid for by taxpayers.

The European Commission (EC) said a £1.7bn gap in the scheme's budget should be financed by EU funds.

A number of nations, including the UK, have opposed the EC's proposals.
"What taxpayers in the United Kingdom and other European countries really need and want is better railways and roads, not giant signature projects in the sky," said committee chairwoman Gwyneth Dunwoody.

"The government must stop this folly and endeavour to bring the European Commission to its senses," the Labour MP for Crewe and Nantwich added.

She called for independent evidence that proceeding with Galileo - a rival to the US GPS system - was worthwhile and offered value for money.
The commission wants the new network because it will give EU states guaranteed access to a space-borne precise timing and location service independent of the United States.

Dunwoody misses the main, strategic, point of the Galileo project, namely that it provides the EU with a service which is independent of the United States. The US can nobble the GPS, and have in the past. They claim they will not in future, but that is only because the EU, and others, have now threatened their monopoly. Sure, the EU should be forced to justify the Galileo budget (and as with all of these EU projects, there is no doubt a lot of corruption involved, so it will not be done as cheaply as it could). But it does not help if naive MPs make naive statements, missing the bigger picture.

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