Azara Blog: Galileo project seems to be on again

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Date published: 2007/12/01

The BBC says:

EU transport ministers have decided to press on with the multi-billion euro Galileo satellite-navigation project.

The decision was made initially without the support of Spain, but it too finally threw its backing behind the troubled and much delayed venture.

Ministers had until the end of the year to reach an agreement. The system is supposed to be in operation by 2013.

Questions remain about its cost but supporters say it will create jobs and cut dependence on the US GPS service.

"This is going to ensure economic and strategic independence," commented EU Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot. "Spatial navigation is really an indication of our power amongst the countries of the world."

The EU's executive had previously said that if agreement was not reached by January 2008, the long-troubled project would essentially be dead.

The current crisis was triggered by the collapse earlier in the year of the private consortium asked to build most of Galileo's infrastructure and run its services.

The transport ministers, meeting in Brussels, have now approved a plan to remodel the project, and refinance it solely from the EU budget, using spare - primarily agriculture - funds.

Once the 3.4bn-euro (£2.4bn) Galileo system is up and running, a private group is still likely to be asked to operate the network.

All in all the best way forward (especially if they managed to use agriculture money, whose massive subsidy is one of the worst EU policies). Hopefully the EU will be able to control the cost of the system (unfortunately this is one thing the EU is not very good at).

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