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|GALILEO - Strategy|
GALILEO - Strategyzdroj: THE PARLIAMENT MAGAZINE
Galileo today and don’t get the project operational, in spite of the fact that the inclusion of the private sector has failed, we lose more than we gain by investing the money in different activities.
The opponents of the Galileo programme don’t like the idea of spending money from the so-called public sources. In my opinion they are missing one substantial fact. Both the often-mentioned US GPS and the Russian GLONASS systems have been primarily developed for military purposes, and therefore financed by the state and de facto from the public sources. In my view it is a sort of unfair competition comparing our previous effort to fund Galileo mainly by private money. I strongly disagree with losing one of the major advantages of Galileo compared to the abovementioned projects – the creation of the system of a guaranteed public service. I emphasise the word guaranteed since I assume there is no need to recall that the situation where the use of the GPS was restricted for other civil users in the interest of the US armed forces.
Other critiques include the laments, ‘why do we need to spend so much money for some navigation that is already in place in the form of GPS?’ I find it a grand mistake and a negative that the system of Galileo is constantly being reduced to and publicly presented only as a tool for the easier motion of vehicles round the world. Why does one talk so little about the other advantages of the project, which already bring many programmes useful for maritime and air transport safety and security and also for increasing the potential capacity for a higher effectiveness in agriculture? Where is its importance in the prevention of natural disasters, and for the monitoring of vulnerable species in nature? And where are the new facilities for information technology, environmental protection etc? In addition to that, Galileo is an EU project and many countries from the entire world are interested in cooperating – Russia, China, Japan and even the USA.
My experience of life up to now, including the unique cosmonautical one, convinces me of the fact that the money spent efficiently on the development of science and technology linked to space is worthwhile for all those who do so. It is not necessary to recall the statistics, how much money spent on space utilisation and research the Americans are getting back, and to recall what space science and satellite technology have brought so far for the further development of technology and materials in other sectors.
I’m sure that if Europe does not follow the Galileo project through then we will lose quite a lot and our competitors will gain quite a lot. Satellite navigation will further evolve even without us and we will be doing worse. People won’t get along without this kind of service in the future. And then we as Europeans will be forced to buy them from someone else – America, Russia or China.
I have started my comments and reflections in the light of the parliament’s decision on an increase in funding for Galileo with a comparison. And I will conclude in a similar way. If Columbus had not got enough money for his exploration perhaps we would have discovered America much later. At that time it was definitely possible to have spent the money for other necessary purposes. And, by the way, the European parliament could provide an example on how to save money in order to fund Galileo. For instance, we could get rid of the useless and expensive removal of the plenary sessions between Brussels and Strasbourg and the millions of euros spent every month would definitely be of some use for the project.